Oktoberfest & the Harrison Beer Festival
Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 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 were named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's Meadow") in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n".
The yearly anniversary of this celebration is Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest has become the world's largest fair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, with more than 6 million people from around the world attending the event every year. Over the past 200 years, Oktoberfest was canceled 24 times due to cholera epidemics and war.
In Munich in recent years, almost 7 million litres of beer is served during the 16 day festival.
Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot, at a minimum of 13.5% Stammwürze (approximately 6% alcohol by volume) may be served at Oktoberfest. The beer must also be brewed within the city limits of Munich. Beers meeting these criteria may be designated Oktoberfest Beer. The Reinheitsgebot (literally "purity order"), sometimes called the "German Beer Purity Law" or the "Bavarian Purity Law", was a regulation concerning the production of beer in Germany. In the original text, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops.
The breweries that can produce Oktoberfest Beer under the traditional criteria are:
By 1960, Oktoberfest had turned into an enormous world-famous festival. Since then, foreigners have pictured Germans as wearing the Sennerhut, Lederhosen, and the girls in Dirndl.
Traditional Oktoberfest Bavarian hats (Tirolerhüte), contain a tuft of goat hair. In Germany, goat hair was highly valued and prized. The more tufts of goat hair on your hat, the wealthier you are considered to be. This tradition ended with the appearance of cheap goat hair imitations on the market.
There are many problems every year with young people who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol, and who pass out due to intoxication. These drunken patrons are often called "Bierleichen" (German for "beer corpses”).
For them as well as for the general public, the Bavarian branch of German Red Cross operates an aid facility and provides emergency medical care on the festival grounds, staffed with more than 100 volunteer medics and doctors per day.
Nearly 1,000 tons of garbage result annually from the Oktoberfest.
In 2004 the queues outside the toilets became so long that the police had to regulate the entrance. To keep traffic moving through the restrooms, men headed for the toilets were directed to the urinals (giant enclosed grate) if they only needed to urinate.
Approximately 1,800 toilets and urinals are now available during the Festival.