Oktoberfest Munich History

Oktoberfest is an exciting, bucket-list event among Germans, travellers and Bier lovers of the world. The original Oktoberfest in Munich is the world’s largest and most popular folk festival, and is held for around 16 days from mid September to the first Sunday in October. Each year, millions of litres of German Bier is served to more than six million people donning dirndls and lederhosen. However, how it is celebrated today is much different to how it began, back on October 12, 1810.

It began with a royal wedding, a horse race, and a crowd of 40,000 well-wishers. When Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen were to be wed, Andreas Michael Dall’Armi, a member of the Bavarian National Guard, had the idea of celebrating the wedding a little differently. Andreas suggested a horse race to King Max I Joseph of Bavaria, and the King was impressed from the get-go. The couple were married on October 12, and on October 17, 1810 the horse race and festivities took place on the grounds of Theresienwiese.

Everyone had such a good time that it was decided it would happen again the very next year – and the one after that, and so on. Eventually, in 1824, Munich city awarded Andreas Michael Dall’Armi the first gold citizens medal for ‘inventing’ Oktoberfest.

Throughout the 19th century, the festivities expanded to include Bier stalls, amusement rides and games, folk music and dancing. In 1938, the horse races were removed from the festival and Oktoberfest continued to develop into the event we celebrate these days. Now, more than 200 years on, Oktoberfest is still held at on the grounds of Theresienwiese in Munich’s centre and has become known across the world for its Bier tents, traditional dress and as a play to sing, dance and be merry with old and new friends.

2021 was second year in a row that event has been called off due to the pandemic, which marks the the 26th time the festival has been cancelled in more than 200 years. It has been confirmed Oktoberfest Munich will go ahead in 2022 after pandemic break attracting around 6 million visitors to Munich, with many travelling from abroad.