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<p>We look at how the most awesome of festivals began</p>
| Oct 9, 2009
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What is Oktoberfest?
Contrary to popular Pinoy belief, Oktoberfest isn’t just a San Miguel event. Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world, taking place in many Western countries such as Brazil, the United States, Argentina, Colombia and from the East, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and of course, the Philippines. [firstpara]
The original edition of the Oktoberfest, that is the one held in Munich, Germany, runs a span of 16 days from late September to early October. This is the largest people’s fair in the world. The star of Oktoberfest, of course, is the beer. And the business of the festival, of course, is the drinking of it. This year’s festival marked its 176th season, which started last September 19 and ended last October 4. Aside from the beer, traditional Bavarian food is also served. An agriculture festival is also held every three years at the Oktoberfest.

Why did the German suddenly want to do a beer festival?
The question here really is, why not? The first Oktoberfest, held on October 18, 1810, was organized to honor the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. The actual wedding took place on October 12, and we’re guessing it was only six days later that the Germans realized that drinking copious amounts of beer to mark such a momentous event was actually awesome. The first Oktoberfest drew a crowd of around 40,000 people—a small fraction of the number of this year's 3.3 million attendees at Munich! During those times, the nobles rarely associated themselves with the general public, which adds more significance to the event.

What’s the average number of attendees?
From the original 40,000 that attended the first ever Oktoberfest, the number has ballooned to millions in the modern Oktoberfest. The largest Oktoberfest ever recorded happened in 1999, where a whopping 6.5 million people from the world over came, drank, and went home with presumably happy faces on. While this year's 3.3 million is just half of 1999's, it's a step up from last year's figures, which was at 3.2 million.

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On the average, how much beer is chugged down in the festival?
Since 1960, the amount of beer that goes down the throat of thirsty, sober people has averaged at around a record-setting 6,500,000 to 7,000,000 liters. Sparkling wines, champagnes, coffee, tea, water, and lemonade are also served in the event, amounting to around 1.2 million liters combined—a number that is dwarfed by the staggering amount of beer served in the place.


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