Oktoberfest opens in bright sunshine

24th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

24 September 2007, Munich (dpa) - Munich's Oktoberfest - the famous annual celebration of beer - opened at midday Saturday under blue-and-white skies and bright sunshine, with the city's mayor breaking open the first barrel with the traditional cry of "Ozapft is."

24 September 2007

Munich (dpa) - Munich's Oktoberfest - the famous annual celebration of beer - opened at midday Saturday under blue-and-white skies and bright sunshine, with the city's mayor breaking open the first barrel with the traditional cry of "Ozapft is."

The tent where the traditional ceremony is carried out was full to bursting, with latecomers turned away.

Munich Mayor Christian Ude needed three strokes of his large mallet to open the first barrel, before handing the first foaming one-litre jug to Edmund Stoiber, attending his last Oktoberfest as Bavarian premier.

In reference to the rowdiness and drunkenness that has come to characterize the mass event - 6 million visitors will have attended by the time the last beer is drawn on October 7 - Ude called for a "peaceful and cheery" event.

Ude, Stoiber and their wives all wore traditional Bavarian dress for the event, which has sought to shrug off some of the commercialism of recent years to return to its roots.

Nevertheless, a jug of beer still costs close to 8 euros (11 dollars).

Ude, opening his 14th Oktoberfest, said he had only just failed to open the barrel with two blows. "The first was not very hard, but on the button. The second was good. And the third was not really necessary," he said.

Many of the thousands of visitors on the first day wore traditional dress - the men in lederhosen and the women in dirndl.

The dirndl has in any case become a fashion item this year. The knot in the bow reveals key information to potential suitors - on the right means the woman has a partner; on the left indicates she is available.

Earlier, horse-drawn coaches decked out with flowers paraded through the Bavarian capital.

The Oktoberfest, marking its 174th year, claims to be the world's largest cultural festival.

DPA

Subject: German news

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