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Oktoberfest Begins in Munich

Sat September 17 2011 2:10 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=47548
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The mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg to kick off the 178th German folk festival Oktoberfest. With only two deft blows of his hammer and a cry, the festival opened its doors to the public Saturday.

Oktoberfest is a 16–18 day festival held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, running from late September to the first weekend in October. Octoberfest is one of the most famous events in Germany and is the world’s largest fair.

More than 5 million people attend Oktoberfest in Munich every year. The Oktoberfest has been held since 1810. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event.

About 7 million liters of beer were served during the 16-day festival in 2007. Traditional food includes Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Schweinshaxe (grilled ham hock), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) along with such Bavarian delicacies as Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).

The festival includes at least fourteen large tents, including the Löwenbräu-Festhalle with 15-foot lion over the front entrance that occasionally drinks from his beer. This is overshadowed by another tower where another drinking lion sits.

Beer Corpses
Young people, who overestimate their ability to handle large amounts of alcohol, frequently are seen passed out on the grounds of Oktoberfest. Many forget that Oktoberfest beer has 5.8 to 6.3% alcohol and high sugar content (compared to an average of 5.2% of alcohol and low sugar content in German beer). These drunk patrons are often called “Bierleichen” (German for “beer corpses”).



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