200th Oktoberfest set to kick off in Munich

This Saturday is day one of Oktoberfest 2010, and this year is extra special—it’s the festival’s 200th anniversary.

The ancestor of Oktoberfest was a marriage celebration between Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in the year 1810. Little did the two newlyweds know that 200 years later, millions of people from all over the world would flock to Munich every year to gather under giant tents for 16 days of singing, dancing, eating, and drinking of fine German beer.

Though I haven’t been to Oktoberfest (it’s on my list), I have been to Munich, and I will say it’s one of my favorite cities. I’m a big fan of the central European vibe (Prague remains my favorite city in the world), and Munich definitely fits the bill with its old world charm and fairytale-like town squares. I can only imagine the folkloric joy I’d feel at Oktoberfest, when local Bavarian traditions are especially well-represented (so many lederhosen, so many dirndls).

Oktoberfest lasts from late September through early October, with the official events taking place on the Theresienwiese festival grounds (named after the aforementioned princess who got married 200 years ago this October).

I will not be in Munich this weekend for the 200th Oktoberfest. But maybe, if I play my cards right, I will be there for the 201st.

Photo: Joachim S. Müller via Flickr (CC license)

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