Germany’s world-famous Oktoberfest folk festival began in the southern city of Munich on Saturday, with Mayor Dieter Reiter getting proceedings underway by tapping the first barrel of beer at 12 pm.
Here is everything you need to know about Oktoberfest 2018:
1. Reiter must thump the tap into the barrel with a mallet, which is no easy task, but one that he managed in just two hits last year.
2. Beer is served at the more than two-week event by the litre, known as a “mass” in German, meaning measure.
3. A mass this year costs up to 11.50 euros (13.50 dollars).
4. More than 800,000 people celebrated the first weekend of Oktoberfest in Munich, organizers said on Sunday, significantly more than last year’s opening weekend, which attracted 600,000 visitors.
5. Thanks to the good weather, Munich residents and foreign tourists coming from as far away as Australia – or as nearby as Italy or Switzerland – together enjoyed the annual celebration.
6. Guests brought not only their thirst for beer, but also their appetite with them, consuming 13 oxen – two more than last year. Hundreds of thousands of litres of beer were also poured and quaffed.
7. Operations spokesman Peter Inselkammer remarked on an “increased thirst” in the guests. Congestion in the beer tents was also, not surprisingly worse than last year, with long lines at the entrances towards the evening.
8. The fairground rides also did a tidy business.
9. This year, there are new rides to enjoy on the Wiesn (German for “meadow,” which also used to denote Oktoberfest).
10. The “Chaos Pendulum” lets you experience a physical sensation similar to that felt during space flight, while the “Predator” leaves you hanging upside down in your seat.
11. For those who like things more sedate, there is the Oide Wiesn (old meadow), which boasts classic fairground rides and brass-band music.
12. The 185th Oktoberfest ends on October 7.