NewsWorldOktoberfest fans cheer festival's return after COVID

Oktoberfest fans cheer festival’s return after COVID

Munich’s annual Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival – kicked off on Saturday (September 17) for the first time since 2019, marking the end of a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands sporting ‘lederhosen’ – or leather trousers – and ‘dirndls’ – traditional low cut dresses – flocked to the event that usually attracts around 6 million visitors a year from around the world.

The official opening at the fairground, locally known as ‘Wiesn’ is celebrated with the traditional call of “O’zapft is!” (‘It’s tapped!’) in a ceremony held at noon on the first day.

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter, who tapped the first barrel, said his technique was “mediocre” but said he had not had practice in the three years wait since the last Oktoberfest.

Earlier this year Reiter had announced that the event, held from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, would take place without any COVID-19 restrictions.

Bavarian premier Markus Soeder, who had also campaigned for the festival’s return, said he was very happy at the return of the festival as people needed “joie de vivre”.

The festival is characterised by a number of traditions, such as a procession bringing innkeepers to the fairground in horse-drawn wagons.

Every year the price of a ‘Mass’ of beer – the traditional unit sold at the festival, slightly more than a litre, or 0.26 gallons – is widely discussed.

This year it sells for between 12.60 and 13.70 euro ($12.62-13.72) compared with around 11.50 euro ($11.52) in 2019.

(Reuters)

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