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Oktoberfest:The Oktoberfest for beginners

Abendstimmung auf dem Münchner Oktoberfest, 2014

Beer and oompah music for sure, but there's more to Oktoberfest then that. Swing carousels for instance.

(Foto: Robert Haas)

The Oktoberfest in Munich is the biggest beer festival in the world - and with many copies allover the world, there's only one original. Here's what to know if you visit for the first time.

How long it goes on for

The Oktoberfest is 16 days of drinking, swaying along with oompah music and partying. This year the Oktoberfest takes place from September 19th to October 4th 2015. The festival is traditionally opened by the Mayor of Munich. On Saturday September 19th at 12 noon Dieter Reiter will tap a beer barrel until the beer starts flowing out. Then he shouts: "O'zapft is!" That's Bavarian. Translated from standard German it means: "It's tapped - the Oktoberfest can begin." Beforehand the brewery landlords arrive with horses to move into their tents at the Oktoberfest. A traditional costume parade takes place in the centre of Munich, involving thousands walking down the streets clad in traditional dress, playing brass band music and dancing. The parade is very popular among locals and tourists alike.

Oktoberfest It's getting in that counts

It's getting in that counts

A bluffer's guide to the tents at the Oktoberfest: where to find the locals, the best atmosphere, the nicest decoration and the craziest party.