Oktoberfest it the world's biggest and best excuse to
get drunk sample a number of different, high-quality beers. The festival is traditionally held in Munich but is slowly spreading all over the globe – you can even celebrate in London this week!
To help you get in the swing of things, here are 12 facts about the famous beer festival to impress your mates while downing your tenth pint.
1. Oktoberfest started in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Crown King Ludwig and Queen Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen
In 1810, the inaugural Oktoberfest took place in Munich to honour the marriage of Bavarian Crown King Ludwig and Queen Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. It was originally celebrated with horse riding, but beer has replaced this over time. [Image Credit: Wikipedia]
2. Approximately 1.8 Million gallons of beer are consumed each year
Around six million people attend Oktoberfest in Munich each year. Together, these party-goers consume a massive 1.8 million gallons of beer, which is enough to fill three Olympic swimming pools. [Image Credit: 46137 Flickr]
3. The Red Cross stocks spare pants, for those sticky moments
The Red Cross keep people safe 365 days of the year, of course. But at Oktoberfest this includes keeping 15 hangover beds, and spare pants nearby (well, we’ve all been there, right?) More than 7,000 people visit the Red Cross tent each year for treatment. Lightweights. [Image Credit: British Red Cross Flickr]
4. The lost and found is glorious
Over 4,000 items end up lost every year at Oktoberfest. The weirdest item left behind? That accolade has to be a gravestone shaped like a pencil. The usual suspects turn up in spades: 1,000 passports, 500 wallets, 300 mobile phones, 300 bags and 50 cameras on average. Other weird finds include wedding rings, a hearing aid, false teeth and a Segway. [Image Credit: Sadler_123 Flickr]
5. The biggest Oktoberfest tent held 12,000 people
The largest ever Oktoberfest beer tent was the Pschorr-Braurosl-tent in 1913, holding 12,000 revellers. Today, the Hofbrau-Festhalle is the largest tent, with 10,000 seats. [Image Credit: Sam O' Neill Flickr]
6. The food on offer is great at soaking up beer
Traditional, hearty food is always on offer at Oktoberfest. Notable dishes include pretzels, weisswurst (white sausage), sauerkraut, rotkraut (pickled red cabbage), haxn (pork knuckle), knodeln (potato dumplings), kaasspatzn (cheese noodles) or reiberdatschi (potato pancakes). Is everyone else hungry now? [Image Credit: Rowena Flickr]
7. Last year, a proposed baker strike almost led to a pretzel shortage
In 2014 a union representing 48,000 bakers threatened to strike during Oktoberfest, inciting fears of a pretzel strike. The workers wanted a 6.5 per cent pay rise. The strike was called off in the end, keeping the pretzels flowing to the masses. [Image Credit: Jadcab Flickr]
8. All the beer is provided by just six breweries
If you’re drinking beer in Munich during Oktoberfest, you’re guaranteed to be drinking beer brewed within the city borders.
There are six eligible breweries: Hofbräuhaus München, Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu, Paulaner Bräu, Löwenbräu, Hacker-Pschorr Bräu and Augustiner Bräu. [Image Credit: Google Maps]
9. Pass out and you’ll be labelled a Bierleichen (Beer Corpse)
Yep, we all know only the strong survive at Oktoberfest, especially seeing as the beer is around 6 per cent ABV, much stronger than typical German lager. The people who take on too much and pass out are known as Bierleichen, which is German for Beer Corpses. [Image Credit: Wikipedia]
10. It’s a family event and more than 100 children were lost at Oktoberfest 2012
The concept of bringing kids to a massive beer festival seems pretty bizarre, but every year beer fans bring their sprogs along with them. Drinkers as young as 14 are allowed to join the action, but more than 100 children were reported lost at Oktoberfest 2012. Whether it’s because they were drunk, or their parents were drunk is unclear. [Image Credit: Mia Martins Flickr]
11. It’s not just about the beer, archery is on offer as well!
Beer and archery – what could possibly go wrong? Oktoberfest also has a number of activities on offer for the strictest teetotaler. There are fairground rides, music in traditional German Oompah form, a crossbow competition, and numerous comical outfits on display. [Image Credit: Raging Wire Flickr]
12. Paris Hilton is banned from Oktoberfest
Security at Oktoberfest are known for their no-nonsense approach, but top of the ban-list is hotel heiress Paris Hilton. The reason? In 2006, she turned up in a skimpy ’dirndl’ dress and began promoting a brand of canned wine (classy or what?) without any prior arrangement. [Image Credit: Wikipedia]