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Published: October 16th 2005
Octberfest Beer Mug - Der Bierkrug
Der bierkrug (beer mug) holds one liter (a little more than a quart)and weighs I would easily say about 5 pounds.
One of the greatest and longest parties in the world has to be the Munich Octoberfest. This year it was 17 days, visited by over six million people from all over the world who when not jammed into 14 giant brewery-sponsored tents, a good number of which can hold up to 9,000 people each, rode huge amusement park rides that rival those in the U.S. Besides the beer consumed during this Octberfest (enough to fill six Olympic size swimming pools), there were 95 oxen, over a half million chickens, hundreds of thousands wursts, and even more pretzels consumed.
So how did this party get started? On October 12, 1810, Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who later became King Ludwig I, (King Ludwig II was the one who built all the castles, one of which the castle at Disneyland was based on its design), wanted his people to share in the celebration of his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Originally it was meant to be just a simple horse race event but the Bavarian character quickly took over and it became a happy gathering of cheerful beer drinkers. And as soon as the beer started flowing in serious streams the celebration
Frau with Beers
Remember each one of those mugs weighs about 5 pounds!
became the biggest hit ever, weddings and horse races were never seen again. The Oktoberfest celebrates its 190th birthday this year; only wars and cholera epidemics briefly interrupted the regular yearly beer celebration a few times. But enough of the history already. Today’s Octberfest is still held at the same site of the original wedding fest but instead of the 40,000 from Munich that attended the first year, over six million people from all over the globe now attend.
Although called Octoberfest, the festival really starts in September and usually ends on the first Sunday of October. The festivities get off to an official start when Munich's Oberbürgermeister (lord mayor) taps the first beer keg and yells the traditional O'zapft is! ("It's tapped!") at 12 noon on the Saturday that starts the event (am Wiesn-Samstag).
Although the huge beer mugs hold a liter of beer, they are not a cheap drink. This year the beer costs 7.50 Euros ($9.25). In the past price hikes have been a very contentious issue. Around the turn of the century, when it was announced that the price for a liter would increase from 8 cents to 10 cents, a brewery was burnt
Now This is a Pretzel!
Kate & Brigid sampling pretzels.
down in the ensuing riots. But what the heck, you only live once and although it was exciting to attend, I don’t see going back again. Our daughter, Brigid, visiting from the states, wanted to experience Octoberfest. We were fortunate as we got there early on Friday and left a little after 3 PM. Friends who stayed told us the number of drunks rose geometrically as the evening progressed. Also it rained, really rained both Saturday and Sunday.
Next stop: Salzburg, Austria
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