When and Why is there an Octoberfest

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What exactly is Oktoberfest and why does it start in September, not October? I wondered and did some research. From the city of its inception, Munich, Germany, I got some insightful information about the largest festival in the world! So, choose your favorite lager,  wit/white, pilsner, bock or kolsch and enjoy. Cheers. For me, I will drink Annable Lee Belgium White by RavenBeer from my town, Baltimore, Maryland.

Seen left, beer fanatic Stephen Fogleman at Cross Bar Biergarten, Baltimore, MD.


Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12th October 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields have been named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's fields") in honor of the Crown Princess ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n".


Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.

Eventually, due to chiily weather, festivities dates were moved up, it allowed for warmer weather conditions in September.  Visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over "die Wiesen" or the fields much longer without feeling chilly. Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.


184rd Octoberfest 2017

Today, the Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world, with an international flavor characteristic of the 21th century: some 6 million visitors from all around the world converge on the Oktoberfest each year.


And since the Oktoberfest is still held on the Theresienwiese, the locals still refer to the event simply as the "Wies'n". So "welcome to the Wies'n" means nothing other than "welcome to the Oktoberfest"!


Patti Neumann is  Founder of Sip & Swirl Society & Publisher of CITYPEEK.com, an award-winning blog. Email ceo@citypeek.com

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