News"Joy and Freedom": Munich Oktoberfest started

"Joy and Freedom": Munich Oktoberfest started

Created: 09/18/2022 Updated: 09/18/2022, 06:10 am

Start des 187. Münchner Oktoberfests
Oktoberfest visitors crowd the grounds. © Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/dpa

In Munich there is a state of emergency again. After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the Oktoberfest has started. The beer lovers storm the tents – Corona or not.

Munich – After a two-year Corona break, the Oktoberfest is being celebrated again in Munich. Despite the cool weather, tens of thousands of people flocked to the folk festival on Saturday. After a super summer full of sun, Petrus just didn’t play along this weekend.

Rain or not: On Sunday, for the first time since 2019, one of the largest traditional costume and riflemen’s processions in the world will be moving through Munich for the Oktoberfest. Around 9000 participants are expected. Streets in the city center will be closed for this. Trachtlers, marksmen, flag-wavers, hunters and members of music bands and marching bands run along. They are accompanied by festival carriages and brewery teams. Groups come from many parts of Germany, but also from abroad.

Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), the Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter (SPD) and Wiesn boss Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU) will be driving in festively decorated coaches.

Three beats open the festival

On Saturday, Reiter had tapped the first keg of beer with three hits and opened the festival. He seemed a little out of practice after the long break. In previous years he had only needed two strokes. He handed the first measure to Söder to toast a peaceful Oktoberfest with him.

Reiter, who gave the go-ahead for the folk festival in the spring after careful consideration, now says it was a good decision. “Everyone is looking forward to it – and that’s what makes you most happy as the mayor.” Fest director Clemens Baumgärtner (CSU) said about the opening that everything went “like clockwork”. It was “an amazing feeling to be able to be here again”.

For Söder, the mass event is a “festival of joy and freedom”. He was in favor of “that there are no bans on songs,” said Söder, who was loudly cheered for in the marquee after initial boos. Before the festival, it was discussed whether the controversial hit “Layla” should be played at the Wiesn or not.

Corona in mind

Even if we celebrate without conditions, Corona has not disappeared. The authorities warned visitors to take a test if they had cold symptoms and not to come to the festival sick. Doctors expect a corona wave after the Wiesn as after other folk festivals. Mayor Reiter also expects a wave after the festival. However, the situation in the clinics is important, and there are no extraordinary burdens there.

Start des 187. Münchner Oktoberfests
Presenter Thomas Gottschalk (r) celebrates with his girlfriend Karina Mroß (l) and her daughter Melinda (M) in the Marstall tent. © Felix Hörhager/dpa

There were many young people among the visitors on Saturday, almost nobody wore a corona protective mask. A few celebrities have also made an appearance, including Thomas Gottschalk, Jan Hofer, Richard Lugner and the politician Dorothee Bär. Before the pandemic, around six million visitors came to what is probably the largest folk festival in the world.

Start des 187. Münchner Oktoberfests
Vogelpfeifer Tobi and Horst Berger laugh in their booth at the start of the 187th Munich Oktoberfest. Before the pandemic, the largest folk festival in the world regularly attracted around six million visitors to the Theresienwiese. © Felix Hörhager/dpa

The first “beer corpse” was in the early afternoon. A young “drunk” woman was taken care of shortly after 2 p.m., said the spokesman for the Aicher Ambulance medical station, Markus Strobl. The approximately 120 employees at the medical station were in full use from Saturday afternoon, the teams moved out almost every five minutes.

Around 600 police officers ensure security during the two weeks of the festival until October 3rd. They are assisted by uniformed police officers from France and Italy, and pickpocket detectives from several countries. dpa

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