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Party starts

September 17, 2011

Germany's internationally beloved celebration of Bavarian culture gets under way in Munich as the first liters of beer are poured. Around six million visitors are expected to attend Oktoberfest this year.

Liters of beer
Last year seven million liters of beer were consumedImage: AP

Germany's world-renowned celebration of beer, Oktoberfest, began on Saturday in Munich when local politicians tapped the first keg in celebration of Bavarian culture.

In a display of bi-partisan revelry, Munich's Social Democratic Mayor Christian Ude toasted Bavaria's conservative Minister President Horst Seehofer as the two political opponents enjoyed the festival's first freshly tapped liters of beer.

"Oktoberfest is traditionally a zone free of politics, and we want to keep it that way," said Seehofer before the festival got under way.

Millions of visitors expected

Women waring a Dirndl
The Dirndle is the dress of choice for most women at OktoberfestImage: picture-alliance/dpa

Although a liter now costs between 8.70 and 9.20 euros ($12 - $12.7), inflating prices did not stop festival goers from lining up for coveted spots in beer tents as early as six in the morning.

Around six million visitors from around the world are expected to attend the 17-days-long festival. Last year, 6.4 million people consumed a nearly record breaking seven million liters of beer.

Oktoberfest was founded in 1810 when the residents of Munich were invited to celebrate the royal marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig and Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Author: Spencer Kimball (dpa, dapd)
Editor: Andreas Illmer