Oktoberfest 2017 is now well underway in Germany, having officially started this past Saturday. Several American cities and towns will be hosting their own Oktoberfest (or Octoberfest) celebrations as well. Many Germans immigrated to the U.S in the 1800s, bringing their customs and traditions with them.Â With so many Americans of German ancestry living in the U.S. today, it's not surprising that Oktoberfest gatherings are now a regular late summer/early autumn event in this country as well. Who would pass up an excuse to drink some good beer and nosh on German delicacies while enjoying camaraderie of fellow revelers?
To get you into the Oktoberfest spirit, here are some wunderbar fun facts about the festival that takes place in Munich, Germany each year.
*The first Oktoberfest was actually a wedding celebration. It took place in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Bavarian King Ludwig I and Maria Theresia of Saxonia at Therensienwiese (Theresia meadow) where it is still held today.
*In 1819 (the same year our company was founded) the horse racing that accompanied Octoberfest was replaced by beer carts and a rule that the party should be held every year.
*The Munich Oktoberfest begins on the first Saturday after September 15 and runs for 16 to 18 days. The event was moved up to September to take advantage of warmer temperatures and to accommodate the crowds.
*You canâ€™t leave with an official Oktoberfest mug unless you buy one. The one-liter glasses, or Masskrugs, are property of the beer hall or tent landlords. Last year over 226,000 glasses were recovered by security before patrons could sneak off with them. You can, however, purchase one on the grounds.
*Only beer brewed within Munichâ€™s city limits are allowed at the festival.
*In 2016 visitors drank 1.8 million gallons of beer.
*Many beers served at Oktoberfest are a little higher in alcohol compared to the average beer, at 7.5 to 8 percent. Those that pass out on the grounds from too much consumption have earned a nickname: Bierleichen or â€œbeer corpses.â€
*Every year over 4,000 items go missing and turned up. This included a set of dentures in 2013.
*Typical food items available include hendl (roast chicken), schweinsbraten (roast pork), haxn (pork knuckle), steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), wurstl (sausages), brezn (pretzel), knodeln (potato or bread dumplings), kaasspotzn (cheese noodles), reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), sauerkraut or rotkraut (pickled red cabbage), obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction), and weisswurst (white sausage).
*Don't be surprised to see young looking guests at Oktoberfest. The legal drinking age in Germany is 16 years old, and only 14 if accompanied by an adult.
*The largest tent holds 10,000 seats.
*No one is allowed to start drinking until noon when Munichâ€™s mayor cracks open the first beer barrel and hands the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria.
*The biggest Oktoberfest held outside of Germany take place in Canada in Kitchener-Waterloo. The largest one held in the U.S. is Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati (held in Cincinnati) which takes place in mid-September and typically attracts over 500,000 patrons.
Should you want to host your own Oktoberfest at home, our Ben Franklin Beer Stein is currently on sale at half off the regular price, now through September 30th. ('Ol Benny may have been American, but we highly doubt he would have passed up a chance to attend an event where beer is honored.) So raise a glass and say prost!