14 September 2008
How did Oktoberfest begin?
Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on Oct. 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates. The fields have been named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields") in honor of the Crown Princess ever since. Horse races marked the close of the event. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.
The first Agricultural Show was added in 1811. The horse races, which were the oldest and - at one time - the most popular event of the festival are no longer held today. But the Agricultural Show is still held every three years during the Oktoberfest.
About the Marzen beer...
Visitors in the early years were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the beer stands were replaced by the first beer tents and halls set up by enterprising landlords with the backing of the breweries.
Today there are 14 large beer tents. About 30% of the year's beer-production of the big breweries in Munich are drunk during these two weeks. The estimated beer price will range between 7.7 and 8 Euros per liter. Read that again....about 30% of the entire year's production of beer is consumed in these two weeks! Wow