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Big Bear Lake and the History of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest, a little bit of German history.

    This highly celebrated, annual Bavarian event began in 1810. It runs from late September through the first week of October.

    The original celebration was a festival for the wedding of King Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, on October 12, 1810.

    The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held in the fields in front of the city gates. This was groundbreaking, as nobles and common people rarely mixed at that time. Over 40,000 Bavarians attended the event.

    The royal party considered the 5 day celebration as a festival for all of Bavaria. The city began celebrating the wedding with various activities, including concerts, parties, balls, and even a horse race on the 17th. It all went so well that the Bavarian royal family decided to hold another race a year later, beginning the Oktoberfest tradition. The horse races went on until 1960.

    The next year, an agricultural show was added to promote Bavarian agriculture. This show has continued every 4 years, ever since. Carnival booths were added in 1816 with prizes of porcelain and jewelry. The citizens of Munich took over the management in 1819. The dates were adjusted for warmer weather and what we now know as "Oktoberfest" became an annual event.

    In 1880, the electric light was introduced, illuminating over 400 booths and tents. In 1881, the first booths selling bratwurst opened.

In  1887, the "Entry of the Oktoberfest Staff and Breweries" took place and has been featured since. This opening event for the celebration features highly decorated horse teams from the breweries and the bands that play in the tents. Every year, as many as 8,000 people wearing traditional costumes and historical uniforms; marching bands, riflemen, horses and livestock, old-fashioned carriages and floats; all parade through Munich's city center showcasing the diversity of local, regional, and national customs.

    Since 1950, the traditional festival opening starts with a twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer.

Precisely at noon, the Mayor of Munich gives a cry of, "O' zapft is!"

(It's tapped!). Doing the honors, he then gives the first beer to the Minister-President of the State of Bavaria. From there, the party begins.

    The Oktoberfest in Munich is known as the largest People's Fair in the world. Over 103 acres, still known as "Theresienwiese, or wiese'n"

(Therese's Meadow), the grounds are full of carnival rides, booths, performers, a ferris wheel, roller coaster and seemingly countless games. 14 larger and several smaller beer tents and beer gardens provide seating for 98,000 visitors at a time. Over 6 million people, drinking over 7 million liters, are expected in 2011.

    Only beers brewed within Munich's city limits can be designated as Oktoberfest and are the only beers served at the Oktoberfest festival. A small handful of breweries are represented, but they are the top of the Bavarian brewers. Other German breweries may make a harvest beer, but it cannot be called Oktoberfest. The Munich Brewers Club registered the Oktoberfest Beer trademark and serves millions of liters annually. Over

7 million liters were served during the 2007 Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest beer tends to be darker and stronger than traditional beer with a higher alcohol content. Alcohol content can reach up to 6%. Of course like all German beers, the Oktoberfest beer is brewed according to strict German standards, in effect since 1516. These standards define the four ingredients allowed in the brewing of beer: barley, malt, hops, and yeast. Continue.....

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