Party Pointer: Oktoberfest Trivia

Most Americans know that Oktoberfest is a German festival involving lots of beer drinking, but they don’t know much else. Here is some Oktoberfest trivia to share with your friends when you go out or have them over to celebrate.

    • Oktoberfest is the world’s largest folk festival, a beer festival and travelling funfair. Held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, it is a 16- to 18-day  festival running from mid or late September to the first weekend in October, with more than six million people from around the world attending the event every year.
      It’s always packed and it helps the economy. Oktoberfest employs around 12,000 people.
    • The first Oktoberfest was celebrated in 1810 to commemorate Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. All the residents of Munich were invited to the countryside to join the wedding gala. The five days of festivities were held on the fields in front of the city gates.
    • Over the years, as the Oktoberfest celebration became larger and more elaborate, it was moved up to the third weekend of September to allow for better weather conditions.
    • Horse races were a big part of the original celebrations, but in 1819, the races were replaced by beer vendors.
    • The original celebration was non-alcoholic, but now Oktoberfest is synonymous with German beer and about 2 million gallons are served every year.
    • The reason why Oktoberfest has become such an important and popular Munich landmark is not out of mere hedonism, but necessity. Southern Bavaria was once notorious for its awful fresh water supply, so to avoid cholera, the plague and other such nasty ailments, locals would wet their whistles with the safer, arguably tastier alternative of beer.
    •  All beer sold at Oktoberfest is brewed within the city limits of Munich. Many of the brews boasting from 7.5 to 8 per cent alcohol.
    •  There is no admission cost for either the grounds or beer tents.
    • Nearly 2 million gallons of beer will be consumed during Oktoberfest, an average of one beer per visitor.
    • The beer tents have seats for 100,000 people.
    • While drinkers as young as 14 can join the party if accompanied by an adult, the security are known for their no-nonsense approach to safeguarding the celebration.
    • Drunk patrons who have passed out due to the higher than usual alcohol content are called “Bierleichen” – “beer corpses” in German.
    • A selection of handsy over-drinkers are banned each year, but top of the notoriety list is the hotel heiress Paris Hilton. Dressed in her skimpiest Bavarian ‘dirndl’ (the traditional Oktoberfest dress), the American socialite showed up to the 2006 to promote a brand of canned wine, without any sort of prior arrangement with the Oktoberfest organizers. After some sizeable and intoxicated public outrage, Paris was banished from ever returning to the party.
    • Around 600-800 people suffer from alcohol poisoning ever year, and in 2013, at least 7,551 people needed medical attention and police were called 2,031 times.
    • Over recent years, organizers for the festival have tried to steer away from the image of the world’s most popular watering hole to a more family friendly extravaganza.
    • In addition to beer tents, there’s a wine tent. Most people in it are above 40 years of age.
    • And of course, food is available throughout the festival grounds. There are around 140 restaurants and food stands.
    • Roasted chicken is more popular than sausages.
    • The world record for carrying beer was set by Anita Schwarz for carrying 19 full beer steins.
    • Oktoberfest closes between 11:30pm and midnight each evening. Most locals head to after-parties.
    • Oktoberfest Lost and Found turns up some pretty memorable forgotten items—roughly 4,000 of them per year. In years past, lost items included 350 cell phones, 520 un-reclaimed wallets, over 1,000 passports, 370 pairs of glasses, 425 sets of keys, 1300 items of clothing, and at least one set of dentures. Even 48 children were lost, then found.
    • It takes two months to setup the festival and one month to tear it down.






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