On October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. To ensure that the event was one to remember, the Crown Prince & his wife-to-be invited the citizens of Munich to attend festivities-including horse races in the presence of the Royal Family-on the field in front of the city gates, on the Theresienwiesen (Theresa's Fields), named in honor of the Crown Princess.
To further commemorate the event, all Munich breweries were commissioned to develop a new style of beer: a Märzen beer. The beer was a hit & supplies ran out within 16 days. Märzen beer has since become the official brew of the Oktoberfest. It is a full-bodied, amber beer, brewed in small batches, intended to last only the few weeks of & surrounding the month of October. Additionally, German & European laws stipulate that only 6 Munich breweries are allowed to use the actual commemorative Oktoberfest beer in their name.
The festivities were such a success that the following year the decision was made to repeat the horse race; hence the annual tradition of the Oktoberfest. It was even decided that the length of the Fest would be the same as the year before: the sixteen days until the beer ran out. An added feature in 1811 was the first Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian Agriculture. While the horse races faded away with time, the Agricultural Show is still held every 3 years during the Oktoberfest on the southern part of the festival grounds.
Each year, the Oktoberfest grew. In the first decades the choice of amusements was sparse with the first carousel & swings not appearing until 1818. Small beer stands-which grew in number from year to year-provided food &d drink for visitors to the Fest. By 1896, innovative entrepreneurs with backing from numerous breweries were setting up beer tents/halls to replace the smaller stands.
Today the Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world with over 6 million visitors-Germans & non-Germans alike-converging on the Theresienwiesen each year for 16 days of food, Oktoberfest beer, fun & a dose of German "Gemütlichkeit."
Tuesday, Jun 22, 2021 at 2:30pm Eastern Time
Virtual Event (link via email)
Saturday, Jun 26, 2021 at 10:30am Eastern Time
Zoom Event (link will be sent prior to the event)
Sunday, Jun 27, 2021 at 2:00pm Eastern Time
JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR