Munich makes merry as Oktoberfest kicks off

19th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 September 2005, MUNICH, GERMANY - Munich's Oktoberfest, billed as the biggest beer party in the world, got underway to cheers and flying froth Saturday.

19 September 2005

MUNICH, GERMANY - Munich's Oktoberfest, billed as the biggest beer party in the world, got underway to cheers and flying froth Saturday.

More than 6 million visitors from around the world are expected for the festivities, forking out up to EUR 7.10 for a one-litre mug of beer in one of 14 huge tents.

Festival organizers promise a 16-day 'gaudi' - southern German for plenty of fun - until October 3, during which about 6 million litres of beer will be consumed.

Half a million grilled chickens and local fare such as pan-fried meat, sausages, and pfannakuacha - Bavarian dialect for a jam-filled pancake - will help the beverages go down.

The festival got underway with the traditional ceremonial tapping of the first barrel of beer in the Schottenhammel tent by the Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude.

With three hits, the beer began to flow and the mayor was able to cry the time-honoured words "Ozapft is!" ("it is tapped!").

Twelve shots rang out to indicate to the other beer tents that beer may be served, while Bavarian state premier Edmund Stoiber quaffed the first litre.

Around 300 specially-trained police officers and 750 stewards are being deployed in and around the Oktoberfest grounds for the festivities.

Police said they would be stepping up drink-driving controls on motorways around Munich.

DPA

Subject: German news

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