It was 1810, the marriage between King Ludwig I and the princess Teresa of Sassonia-Hildburghausen was been celebrated and Munich was animated with numerous festivals. One of these, a horse race organized by an Italian businessman Andrea Michele Dall’Armi, was repeated year after year. The wine and beer, initially offered as refreshment to spectators, gradually became the main event of that festivity which then became the Oktoberfest.
Today, the Oktoberfest is in its 183rd year. It is not just a popular festival dominated by Bavarian beer and food: To define it as a ‘beer festival’ is simplistic as this event is also the largest exhibition in the world able to attract as many as 7 million visitors who descend on Munich not just for the good food, but for the theme park set up for the event (which, among other attractions, has the world’s largest transportable roller coaster, The Olympia Looping), for the stands where the city’s six renowned beer labels can be sampled, for listening to schlager music performed by traditional music groups and much more.
The event straddles September and October (in 2016 from 17th of September to the 3rd of October). It has many imitators and has inspired other similar festivals, such as the Oktoberfest Torino, the largest beer fest in Italy: Its second edition will take place at the Oval Lingotto from the 13th to the 23rd of October.
The diversity of the entertainment, the century old tradition that accompanies the event and the exhibitors as well as the long period of festivities make Oktoberfest unbeatable. It is an event with universal appeal, a tourist attraction that offers much more than just its beer culture.