16 days of beer tents, pints, folk music and festivities around Germany characterises Oktoberfest. As the name implies, this festival runs up to the first Sunday in October and is a celebration of the reunification of Germany, dating back around 200 years and is celebrated by more than 6 million people worldwide. The festival originated in Munich and involves the consumption of large quantities of beer, as well as several attractions including rides, sidestalls and games, as well as a large selection of traditional Bavarian foods, including Hendi (roast chicken), Sauerktrat (Cabbage), Brezen (pretzels), Scheweinbraten (roast pork) and Kasepaztrie (cheese noodles).
Before the festival officially commences, parades are held with traditional marksmen clubs, beer tent waitresses and landlords, with some locals wearing traditional costumes.
The story of the entry of restauranteurs and breweries into Oktoberfest dates back to 1887 when the then manager, Hans Steyrer first marched from his meadow to he Tegernseer Landstrasse with his staff, a brass band and a load of beer. In its current form, the parade has been going on since 1935, led by Munchner Kindl, followed by the Lord mayor of Munich in the Schottenhammel family carriage since 1950.
Following the parade of restauranteurs and breweries onto the festival grounds, at exactly 12:00, the Lord Mayor opens the first beer barrel in in the Schottenhammel tent and the Oktoberfest declared officially open. Twelve gunshots are then fired on the stairs of Ruhmeshalle, signalling the restauranteurs to start serving beer, with the first beer traditionally being served to the Bavarian Prime-minister. This particular parade has been a highlight of the festival since 1950 and on the first festival Sunday, 8000 participants march the parade in traditional costumes.
Only beers brewed in Munich and deemed “pure” can be served at Munich Oktoberfests, with 6 breweries conforming to this criteria.
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