Eight thousand people—mostly from Bavaria—and dressed in traditional costumes walk from Maximilian Street through the centre of Munich to the Oktoberfest grounds. Since , the statue of Bavaria has watched over the Oktoberfest. This worldly Bavarian patron was first sketched by Leo von Klenze in a classic style and Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler romanticised and " Germanised " the draft. In , the Bavarian Ruhmeshalle was completed. In , the festival was cancelled after 3, residents of Munich died during a cholera epidemic.
In , the Franco-Prussian War again forced the cancellation of the festival. In , the festival was cancelled due to yet another cholera epidemic. In , electric light illuminated more than booths and tents. In , booths selling Bratwurst opened and the first beer was served in glass mugs in At the end of the 19th century, a re-organization took place. Until then, there were games of skittles , large dance floors, and trees for climbing in the beer booths. Organizers wanted more room for guests and musicians which resulted in the booths becoming beer halls which are still used today.
In , the parade of the Oktoberfest staff and breweries took place for the first time. This event showcases the splendidly decorated horse teams of the breweries and the bands that play in the festival tents. This event always takes place on the first Saturday of the Oktoberfest and serves as the official prelude to the Oktoberfest celebration. At the th anniversary of Oktoberfest in , an estimated , litres of beer were consumed.
Due to World War I, Oktoberfest was temporarily suspended from to The two years after the war, in and , Oktoberfest was replaced by the so-called " kleineres Herbstfest " which can be translated as "smaller autumn celebration" , and in and the Oktoberfest was canceled due to heavy inflation. During National Socialism , Oktoberfest was used as part of Nazi propaganda.
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Two years later, Oktoberfest's th anniversary was celebrated with all the frills. The main event was a big parade. The slogan "proud city — cheerful country" was meant to show the alleged overcoming of differences between social classes, and can be seen as an example of the regime's consolidation of power. Following the war, from to , Munich celebrated only the "Autumn Fest". Since its foundation, there have been 24 years in which Oktoberfest was not celebrated.
Beginning in , the festival has always been opened with the same traditional procedure: At noon, a gun salute is followed by the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer by the Mayor of Munich with the proclamation " O'zapft is! The first mayor to tap a keg was Thomas Wimmer. Before the festival officially starts, parades are held with the traditional marksmen's clubs, beer-tent waitresses, and landlords participating.
Actually, there are two different parades which both end at the Theresienwiese.
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They start around 9: Historically, in Bavaria chamois hair was highly valued and prized. The more tufts of chamois hair on one's hat, the wealthier one was considered to be. Due to modern technology, this tradition has declined with the appearance of chamois hair imitations on the market.
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For medical treatment of visitors, the Bavarian branch of the German Red Cross operates an aid facility and provides emergency medical care on the festival grounds, staffed with around volunteer medics and doctors per day. A pipe bomb was set off in a dustbin near the toilets at the main entrance on 26 September at The bomb consisted of an empty fire extinguisher filled with 1. Thirteen people were killed and over were injured, 68 seriously. This was the second-deadliest terrorist attack in the history of Germany after the Munich massacre. However, this account is strongly disputed by various groups.
To keep the Oktoberfest, and especially the beer tents, amicable for the elderly and families, the concept of the "quiet Oktoberfest" was developed in Only after that may Schlager pop or electric music be played, which had led to excess violence in earlier years. With these rules, the organisers of the Oktoberfest were able to curb [ dubious — discuss ] the tumultuous party mentality and preserve the traditional beer-tent atmosphere.
In the last travelling enterprise amusement ride of Germany, called the Mondlift, returned to the Oktoberfest.
Starting in , a new Bavarian law was passed to ban smoking in all enclosed spaces open to the public. Because of problems enforcing the anti-smoking law in the big tents, an exception was granted to the Oktoberfest in , although the sale of tobacco was not allowed. After heavy losses in the local elections, with the smoking ban being a big issue in political debates, the state's ruling party implemented general exemptions to beer tents and small pubs.
The change in regulations was aimed in particular to benefit the large tents of the Oktoberfest: However, in early , a referendum held in Bavaria as a result of a popular initiative re-instituted the original, strict, smoking ban of ; thus, no beer will be sold to people caught smoking in the tents. The blanket smoking ban did not take effect until , but all tents instituted the smoking ban in to do a "dry run" to identify any unforeseeable issues. The year marked the th anniversary of the Oktoberfest.
For the anniversary, a horse race in historical costumes was held on opening day. A so-called historische Wiesn historical Oktoberfest took place, starting one day earlier than usual on the southern part of the festival grounds. A specially brewed beer solely available at the tents of the historical Oktoberfest , horse races, and a museum tent gave visitors an impression of how the event felt two centuries ago.
On the occasion of the th anniversary in a so-called Historisches Oktoberfest Historical Oktoberfest was designed on the site of the Central Agricultural Festival at the south end of the Theresienwiese. It opened one day before the official Oktoberfest with the traditional keg tapping by the Lord Mayor. The comprehensive five acres of fenced grounds presented historic rides, beer tents and other historical attractions such as a Steckerlfisch grilling, a chain swing and a cotton candy stand.
Included in the price of admission, an animal tent and the racecourse could be visited next to the museum. The animal tent included, among other things, a petting zoo, and was managed by the Hellabrunn Zoo and the Bavarian Farmers Association. The Munich Stadtmuseum took over the design of the museum tent.
The bands in the relatively small Herzkasperl Festzelt — offering seats — had to do without electrical amplification. The beer mugs in the beer tents did not have the company logo of the breweries, but rather the inscription "Munich beer". Instead of the , guests estimated by the city council, well over half a million visitors came.
The festival site had to be temporarily closed several times due to overcrowding. According to the Munich City Council Decision on 16 October , the entry fee for the Historical Oktoberfest, now called Oide Wiesn bavarian for old fairground , in was to be three euros again. For the first time a re-entry was possible with the tickets. The historic rides in required a 1 Euro fee.
Other changes made at that Munich City Council meeting were that the musicians' tent increased the number of indoor seats from to 1, Outside tent seating increased from to 1, Lastly, according to a City Council decision, there will be an Oide Wiesn again in before the Central Agricultural Exhibition claims the location again on the Theresienwiese in In its current form, the parade has taken place since , where all the breweries first took part. This is followed by the decorated horse carriages and floats of the breweries and the carriages of the other restaurateurs and showmen.
The music bands from the beer tents accompany the parade. After the parade of the restaurateurs on carriages from downtown to the festival grounds, at exactly With the initial pass and the exclamation "O'zapft is! Twelve gunshots are then fired on the stairway of Ruhmeshalle. This is the signal for the other restaurateurs to start with the serving of beer.
Then in the other tents, the first barrels are tapped and beer is served to the visitors. Every year, visitors eagerly await to see how many strokes the mayor needs to use before the first beer flows. Bets are even made.
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The best performance is still two strokes Christian Ude , , , , , , and ; Dieter Reiter , , , and , and there was also 19 strokes required Thomas Wimmer , In honor of the silver wedding anniversary of King Ludwig I of Bavaria and Princess Therese , a traditional costume parade took place in for the first time.
In , the Bavarian novelist Maximilian Schmidt organized another parade with 1, participants in traditional costume groups. Since , this parade is organized annually and has become one of the highlights of the Oktoberfest and one of the world's largest parades of its kind. On the first festival Sunday, participants march in the parade in their historic festival costumes from the Maximilianeum on a seven kilometer stretch to the festival grounds. The clubs and groups come mostly out of Bavaria, but also from other German states, Austria , Switzerland , Northern Italy and other European countries.
Only beer conforming to the Reinheitsgebot , and brewed within the city limits of Munich, can be served at the Munich Oktoberfest. Beers meeting these criteria are designated Oktoberfest Beer. The breweries that can produce Oktoberfest beer under the aforementioned criteria are: Oktoberfest Beer is a registered trademark by the Club of Munich Brewers, which consists of the above six breweries.
The Oktoberfest is known as the largest Volksfest folk festival in the World. In there were six and a half million visitors  to the 42 hectare Theresienwiese. Besides the Oktoberfest, there are other public festivals that take place at the same location. After the Oktoberfest the next largest public fairs in Germany are the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart with about 4.
In recent years, the Oktoberfest runs for 16 days with the last day being the first Sunday in October. However, if day 16 falls before 3 October German Unity Day , then the festival will continue until the 3rd. Technical accidents have rarely occurred throughout Oktoberfest history.
On 30 September , there was a collision on the Euro Star roller coaster, which injured 30, and was caused by a worn safety brake that went unnoticed during inspection. To reduce the number of thefts, fights, and sexual assault cases during Oktoberfest, the protection measures for visitors have improved in recent years.
In , a new service center was placed in the authorities court, in which the police, the Munich Fire Department , medical services, and a department of district administration is located.
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During the Oktoberfest, a police station specifically for the festival is installed, and can be reached with the emergency number Due to the numerous Italian visitors to the Oktoberfest, since officers from Bolzano , Italy are also present. For decades now, the Bavarian Red Cross has been responsible for the medical service at the Oktoberfest. Additional medical services are located in the Fischer Vroni tent Aicher Ambulance , and the Munich U-Bahn has commissioned additional backups in the rapid transit station Theresienwiese provided by the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe.