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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

Last updated on: September 20, 2011 09:30 IST

In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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The 178th Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world, is underway in the Bavarian capital, Munich.

The festival is attended by some six million visitors from all around the world every year.

 

Rediff.com takes you on a ride through the party.

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Image: Revellers toast with the traditional 1-litre beer mugs at the opening of the Munich Oktoberfest
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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Oktoberfest, a festival of Munich's beer and one of the Bavarian capital's trademarks, is a household term in all parts of the world. It is not without good reason that there are around 3,000 'sister' Oktoberfests spread out all over the world.

And who doesn't dream of experiencing the original in Munich some time in their life or at least of visiting the 'beer Mecca' one day?

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Image: Revellers salute with traditional 1-litre beer mugs at the opening of the Munich Oktoberfest
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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The festival has much more to offer than exciting roller-coasters and huge beer tents.

While on the Oktoberfest grounds high-tech rides and attractions such as the Olympia Looping and the Star Flyer spin visitors at racing speed to dizzying heights, huge festival halls seating up to 10,000 guests invite revellers to enjoy beer and chicken.

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Image: Participants of the traditional Costume and Riflemen's Procession at day 2 of the Oktoberfest 2011 beer festival perform on September 18
Photographs: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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This year, the beer price will break through another invisible barrier -- the 9 Euro (Rs 590) mark. Depending on tent and brewery, a Mass , a litre of beer, will cost between 8.70 Euro (Rs 570) and 9.20 Euro (Rs 603).

The tent owners and breweries state that costs like erecting and maintaining the tents have gone up, just like the wages for the workers. Critics, as every year, respond to that with the argument, that the breweries already make an immense profit from the beer tents at the Oktoberfest and that they could still do just fine without raising the beer price every year.

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Image: A reveller drinks beer during the first day of the Munich Oktoberfest
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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It offers fairground entertainment that has become rare, such as nostalgic merry-go-rounds and public spectacles, horse races and animal shows, art, culture and historical customs, special culinary delights and a multi-faceted programme for children.

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Image: A general view shows a crowded beer tent during the opening day of the Oktoberfest 2011 beer festival at Theresienwiese
Photographs: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images
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Four years after Bavaria was proclaimed a kingdom, Crown Prince Ludwig -- who later became King Ludwig I -- and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen celebrated their wedding on October 12, 1810. 

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Image: Visitors ride a carousel during the first day of the Munich Oktoberfest
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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The downtown festivities, which were known as a 'folk festival', were brought to a finale on October 17 with a horserace on a meadow in front of the gates of Munich. 


In honour of the bride, the festive meadow was named 'Theresens-Wiese'. Thus the grounds for Oktoberfest are called "Theresienwiese" till today -- a term that was abbreviated to 'Wiesn' in common Munich parlance. 

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Image: Revellers wearing traditional Bavarian clothes hug on the stairs of the St Peter and Paul church after leaving the Munich Oktoberfest, in Munich
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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The decision to repeat the popular horse race at the same time the following year gave rise to the tradition of 'October festivals', which have thrilled guests from all over the world for 200 years.

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Image: Tens of thousands of revellers stroll at the Munich Oktoberfest, at the Theresienwiese in Munich
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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Twice a day horses compete in the grand arena of the racetrack. 

Guests can watch the races from a grandstand and enjoy the presentation of historic customs, groups dressed in traditional attire and folk dancing. 

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Image: A waitress carries the traditional 1-litre beer mugs at the opening of the Munich Oktoberfest
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters
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In PHOTOS: At Oktoberfest, world's largest beer party

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The museum tent of the Munchner Stadtmuseum and the Munich Association of Showmen is presenting historical exhibits and rides from the olden days. 

Here you can experience the 'Ride into Paradise' built in 1939 as well as the 'Calypso' from the 1950s. 

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Image: Visitors toast with beer mugs during the opening day of the Oktoberfest 2011 beer festival
Photographs: Alexandra Beier/Getty Images
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At the 'Herzkasperl' tent, a free cultural programme with readings and political satire, folk music and city sound awaits spectators. 

 

At the historical festive tent traditional customs including folk dance, whip-cracking demonstrations and Bavarian brass bands are presented every day. 

 

There you can celebrate as the Bavarian ancestors did 200 years ago: When classical Munich dishes such as "B fflamott" (beef stew) and "Rumfort soup" (stew with vegetables and pulses) and beer jointly brewed for this occasion by Munich breweries are served exclusively during the anniversary celebration.

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Image: Traditional ginger bread hearts are on sale at the World's biggest beer fest, the Munich Oktoberfest, at the Theresienwiese in Munich
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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A special programme for children with pony rides, lemonade garden close to the festive tent, 'Kasperltheater' (Punch and Judy show), petting zoo and various games round out the attractions of the anniversary celebration.

Click on MORE to see PHOTOS of 2010 Oktoberfest...


Image: A reveller sleeps outside a tent at the end of the first day of the Munich Oktoberfest
Photographs: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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