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The Many Traditions of Oktoberfest – Beer and More [VIDEO]

Oktoberfest 2011
Johannes Simon/Getty Images

So you think you know Oktoberfest? Well there are many versions here in the United States, but you have to go to the Old World to find out the real story. The Oktoberfest tradition started in 1810 to celebrate the October 12th marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to the Saxon-Hildburghausen Princess Therese. The citizens of Munich were invited to join in the festivities which were held over five days on the fields in front of the city gates. The main event of the original Oktoberfest was a horse race. (Do you think they drank much beer that day?)

The festivals have been moved to late September to accommodate the better weather and the celebrations have been getting bigger and bigger every year. The biggest festival in Munich, Germany is held on 103 acres and has all types of entertainment including rides and games, 7000 plus performers and of course food and drink.

The most popular food is chicken. Chicken? I thought Brats would be number one but not here. Goose and duck a close second. Pork and potato dumplings, pig knuckles and ox tail. OK, where is the Brat stand?

Beer. It just would not be a festival without beer, at least in Munich it would not be. Marzen (MARCH Beer) as the name suggests is a darker stronger beer made just for the festival. Brewed in March it sits all summer until the ideal time to be tapped and served. Of course it is brewed under strict German standards and must pass the test that has been in place since the year 1516.

And to round it all out, music. Popular and folk music, marches, and polkas make up the oompah music Germany is stereotypically famous for around the world.

So no matter if you want to go to Germany or just down the street to celebrate Oktoberfest, you have a better understanding of this time honored event

Raise a glass and “Prost”

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