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2012 marks the 202nd anniversary of the world-famous Oktoberfest, a celebration of beer, songs and merriment held each year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
The 16- to 18-day festival is traditionally held each year from late September to the first weekend in October. It’s one of the most famous events in Germany and still considered to be the world’s largest fair, with some six-million+ people attending every year. The Oktoberfest is an important part of Bavarian culture. Other cities across the world also hold Oktoberfest celebrations, modeled after the Munich event.
What Goes On?
Besides beer, visitors eat huge amounts of traditional hearty fare, such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (pork knuckle), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), and Würstl (sausages) along with Brezn (Pretzel), Knödel (potato or bread dumplings), Kasspatzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Blaukraut (red cabbage) and Bavarian delicacies like Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction), Rokeg (meat and blood baked into a pastry) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).
How Did This Whole Thing Get Started?
Interestingly, even though we now all associate the celebration with beer, the event never began as a beer festival. The original “Oktoberfest” occurred in Munich, on October 12, 1810, as the public commemoration of the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese, which had taken place five days before. The event was so successful that it was expanded to showcase an agricultural exhibit the following year. Then, five years later, the show was lengthened and carnival booths first appeared.
In 1887, some 75 years after its beginnings, German Breweries took a prominent role for the first time. Carnival Booths were replaced with enormous “beer tents,” which showcased the breweries’ splendidly decorated horse teams and their bands. The Oktoberfest had just begun its growth into the international event it is today, with many additions, improvements and innovations as the years progressed, including large dance floors, electric lighting and glass beer mugs in 1892.
Since 1950, there has been a traditional festival opening. A twelve-gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer at 12:00 noon by the incumbent Mayor of Munich, with the cry “O’ zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!” in the Austro-Bavarian language), opens the Oktoberfest. The Mayor then gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. From there, the merriment truly begins!
If you’d like to participate in this year’s celebration, you don’t have to travel to Germany. Nino’s carries on the tradition each year with a two-week celebration of German Food and Beverages.
This year’s food celebration includes our German Spaetzel Casserole (being sampled on the weekend of September 28th – 30th ) and our delicious Pork Schnitzel, with our Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon and our Potato Pancakes (being sampled on the weekend of October 5th – 7th ).
You can also find some great deals on German beer and traditional German foods, such as Hengstenberg Sauerkraut, Feldkamp Breads, Zentis Jams, German Cheeses, Noodles, Strudels, and of course, German BEER!
Many of these items are on “special” through October 9th, so you’ll want to stop in, pick up our Oktoberfest sale flyer and shop for all your favorite items.
Want a glimpse into what the festival is like? Click here to see The Travel Channel’s Oktoberfest Video:
Now, maybe you’re inspired to try a German dish or two at home? Check our website for these delicious recipes: