Tens of thousands of people ran through the entrance of the Oktoberfest beer festival grounds on Saturday, racing to get a seat in one of the festival's massive beer tents after organizers opened the gates in the Bavarian city of Munich.
An hour ahead of the official opening, several tents had already closed their doors due to overcrowding. Even those on the tents' guest lists were not being admitted, organizers said.
Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter tapped the first keg on Saturday with two blows of a hammer and the cry of "O'zapft is" — "it's tapped." As tradition demands, he handed the first mug to the state's premier, Markus Söder, and the pair drank to a peaceful festival.
Beer isn't cheap
The number of visitors to Oktoberfest will likely be high this year, with around 6 million people from around the world expected at the festival before it ends on October 6. Attendance in 2018 increased by 14% compared to the previous year, with 6.3 million people attending the festival.
Even though it attracts millions of visitors every year, the beer isn't cheap: One liter can cost up to €11.80 ($13). As in previous years, backpacks and large bags are banned for security reasons.
The first Oktoberfest, in 1810, was actually held in October. Although it's still known as Oktoberfest, it now opens each year in September. The reason for that is Bavaria's bad weather. It's even been known to snow in October, which would be a problem for the festival. The world-famous beer celebration was moved up to September in 1904.
sri/sms (dpa, AP)