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Oktoberfest 2012 begins its 179th year

Jason Oliva

An Oktoberfest tent

Ceremonial keg-tapping opened the festival

Oktoberfest headed into its 179th year as Munich’s celebrated beer fest Saturday, Sept. 22 with a ceremonial keg-tapping by Munich’s Mayor Christian Ude. Two blows with a hammer, Ude proclaimed “O’zapft is,” or in English, “It’s tapped,” and was met with a rally of applause from the thousands anxious for the festival’s first beer.

What began as a wedding reception nearly 200 years ago for Bavarian Prince Ludwig has evolved into a world-inviting festival expected to reach an accumulated attendance of more than 6 million guests. The festival still holds true to its Bavarian roots with endless mugs of beer, traditional music, clothing and dance.

Last year’s Oktoberfest saw nearly 8 million liters of beer consumed, 500,000 chickens eaten and 120 oxen cooked. Oktoberfest 2012 brings about a few changes from last year’s festival. From safety awareness in banning glass mugs to the addition of seven frightening attractions including haunted bedrooms and an exorcism experience, Oktoberfest 2012 still looks to entertain myriads of travelers from across the globe.

Oktoberfest 2012 is held in the Wiesn fairgrounds, an area spread out over 75 acres to accommodate the masses of attendees looking to whet their whistles with a variety of German brews, eat some traditional German dishes and enjoy the atmosphere of a nearly two centuries-old festival.

Mayor Ude hopes for this year’s Oktoberfest to be peaceful and one that is clear of bad weather. With enough tents for a military regiment encampment, the festivities of Oktoberfest 2012 shall gush on, rain or shine.

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