GERMANY – At precisely 12 o’clock, the Mayor of Munich tapped a beer barrel three times and proclaimed “O’zapft is” (it’s tapped), marking the opening of the world’s largest beer festival, Oktoberfest, which spans 18 days.

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 1

Oktoberfest 2023 opening day, September 16, in Munich, Germany. Oktoberfest typically begins in late September and runs into early October, drawing around 6 million participants each year. This year marks the 188th festival, taking place from September 16 to October 3. Photo: Reuters

The Oktoberfest beer festival was first held in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. Over its more than 200-year history, the festival has been canceled 26 times due to wars, natural disasters, and pandemics.

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 2

Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, pours the first beer on September 16. Photo: Oktoberfest Munchen

In keeping with tradition, the festival officially begins when the Mayor of Munich performs the ritual of tapping a beer barrel three times and exclaims “O’zapft is” at 12 noon on opening day. This year, the festival continues to take place at Theresienwiese Park for 18 days, two days longer than usual, featuring dozens of beer tents and hundreds of stalls.

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 3

Visitors crowded on the first day of the festival. Photo: Reuters

The festival is open to the public, but seating is limited. To have a good experience, visitors can proactively reserve seats in advance at beer tents during the two main time slots: morning and evening. Each beer tent has its pricing. According to regulations, these beer tents are open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily throughout the festival. On weekends and holidays, they open an hour earlier.

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 4

According to the organizers, the beginning of the week is an ideal time for families with young children to join the festival because it’s less crowded during these days, especially in the morning. If you want to enjoy the lively atmosphere, weekends, the opening day, and closing day are recommended. The organizers predict that the last three days of the festival, from October 1-3, will be the most crowded. Photo: Oktoberfest Munchen

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 5

A group of tourists enjoying beer at the festival. Photo: Reuters

During this event, it is estimated that nearly 500 breweries will bring at least 6 million barrels of beer. However, due to prolonged inflation, a one-liter beer stein will be sold for prices ranging from 12.6 to 14.9 euros, an increase of over 6% compared to the previous year. Additionally, non-alcoholic beverages are priced at an average of 10.04 euros, soft drinks at 11.65 euros, and lemonade at 11.17 euros per liter.

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 6

The festival also serves a variety of accompanying dishes. Grilled chicken and sausages are among the most popular foods at Oktoberfest. Notably, this year’s beer festival offers 80 vegetarian dishes, with an increase in the number of vegetarian food stalls compared to previous editions. Pictured are food servers at beer tents. Photo: Reuters

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 7

Visitors typically sit at long tables, raise their steins with friends and new acquaintances, and enjoy themselves. Parade performances and thrilling games are also key attractions that draw tourists to Oktoberfest each year. Photo: Oktoberfest Munchen

Millions of Visitors Flock to the World's Largest Beer Festival - image 8

Visitors wearing traditional Bavarian attire at the Munich beer festival. Photo: Oktoberfest Munchen

Vendors at beer tents wear traditional Bavarian attire when attending the festival, with women wearing Dirndl dresses and men wearing knee-length leather pants. While there are no specific dress code requirements, many guests also wear similar outfits when attending the festival. However, large bags are prohibited from entering the beer tents.