Oktoberfest kicks off as boozers in lederhosen down beer, beer and more beer

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The world's most famous beer festival is back after a two-year hiatus, as revellers flock to Munich's Oktoberfest in their gleaming lederhosen.

The Munich festival welcomes scores of punters from around the world for its world-famous German beer, and around £870 million is made from it, with tourists forking out for a good time in Bavaria.

Traditionally, many men wear lederhosen and women will wear dirndls, but locals have in recent years complained that some versions of the dirndl worn by tourists are too sexy.

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Munich author Franz Thalhammer slammed them as “porno dresses”.

But the most symbolic part of it is the stein glasses, with people seen downing golden beer in large glasses and huge crowds.

With three knocks of a hammer and the shout of "O'zapft is" ("It's tapped"), Munich mayor Dieter Reiter inserted the tap in the first keg at noon on Saturday, officially kicking off festivities after Coronavirus saw the bash cancelled two years running.

Bavarian governor Markus Soeder said at the opening ceremony today: "I'm glad that we can finally celebrate together.

"There are many who say, Can we, can we not? Is it appropriate now?

"I just want to say one thing: We have two or three difficult years behind us, no one knows exactly what this winter will be like, and we need joie de vivre and strength."

Twelve gunshots were fired after Reiter inserted the tap, to signal that other tents could open.

The 187th Oktoberfest, whose site covers a whopping 420,000 square metres and employs 13,000 people, started barely two hours ago at the time of writing, and closes on October 3.

Originally beginning in October, the event now starts in September because of the warmer weather.

The Oktoberfest typically draws about six million visitors every year to packed festival grounds, with 14 huge beer tents and a clutch of smaller ones offering enough space for 119,000 drinkers.

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Brits have regularly been counted among the top ten visitors to the annual festival, which dates all the way back to the 1800s.

Oktoberfest was first held in honour of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hild burghausen in 1810. The party went on for five days.

Since then, Oktoberfest celebrations are held across the world, from Paris to Vietnam. The US city of Cincinnati stages a bratwurst eating competition at its own Oktoberfest, the globe’s second biggest.


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