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History of Oktoberfest

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Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati is modeled after the original Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, which starts its annual celebration the same weekend — the third full weekend in September.

Why does Munich hold its Oktoberfest in September? Because the original Oktoberfest was held this very weekend in 1810 as a celebration of the marriage of Prince Ludwig I and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The wedding party was such a success that it was celebrated again in 1812 in commemoration of the royal wedding.

The wedding reception blossomed into a two-week open-air festival that was so well received it became an annual event. Each year additional exhibits were added until it became the major annual German fall festival celebrating harvest time and the arrival of the fall season.

Traditionally festivities in Munich begin on the second to last Saturday in September and end the first Sunday in October. During the 14-day event, over 7 million visitors drink a copious 14 million liters of beer. They also consume more than 300,000 pairs of pork sausages, 600,000 roasted chickens and more than 60,000 roasted pork knuckles.

Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati is recognized as the world’s second-largest authentic Oktoberfest. In fact, the mayor of Munich annually decrees Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati as the largest in the world outside of his domain.

Special thanks to Don Tolzmann, Director of the German-American Studies Program at the University of Cincinnati for his contributions to this site.

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Smartphone app

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