history of the oktoberfest
the first "oktoberfest" took place on october 12, 1810: for the commemoration of their marriage, crown prince ludwig (later king ludwig I) and princess therese of saxe-hildburghausen (namesake of the theresienwiese festival grounds) organized a great horse race. the festival was a great success. it was decided to repeat the festival in the following year - the oktoberfest was born. later on an agricultural exhibition was added; this exhibtion only takes place every 3rd year, since 1960 the horse race no longer takes place.
since 1850 the statue of bavaria has watched the oktoberfest. the bavaria was drafted by ludwig michael schwanthaler and leo von klenze. it was constructed by johann baptist stiglmaier and ferdinand von miller. since 1901 electric light is available at the festival, in 1903 the booths were replaced by beer tents.
since 1950 there has been a traditional festival opening: a twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of wiesn beer at 12:00 by the current mayor of munich with the words "o'zapft is!" ("it's tapped!" in the bavarian dialect) opens the oktoberfest.
13 visitors were killed in 1980 by a bomb explosion at the main entrance. also over 200 people were injured. the oktoberfest lasts for 16 days and it always ends traditionally on the first sunday of october. due to an extension of the festival and due to the cooler weather in october the oktoberfest begins in september since 1872. in all those years the oktoberfest has been canceled 24 times due to cholera, war and miscellaneous emergencies.
modeled after the wiesn various oktoberfest celebrations developed in other countries:
the supposedly next largest oktoberfest is annually held in kitchener, ontario (canada). in the usa there are as well numerous places, which hold an oktoberfest. In brasil the oktoberfest in blumenau (in the southern state of santa catarina) is the largest and most known oktoberfest with 600.000 visitors. from a bavarian point of view often and willingly overlooked is the cannstatter folk festival in stuttgart, which rivals with the wiesn about the size and the amount of visitors and the amount of beer served. it can be argued about the conclusion of such statistics - however it is undisputed, that the swabian folk festival at the cannstatter wasen ends a week later than the wiesn and thus rather fulfills the description oktoberfest.