Prosit! Oktoberfest opens in Munich
By MICHAEL ABRAMS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 22, 2013
MUNICH, Germany — With a couple of well-placed hits of a hammer, Munich Lord Mayor Christian Ude popped the first keg of beer and with the words “Ozapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”), the 180th edition of the Oktoberfest was under way Saturday.
Despite the gray skies, the festival grounds were filled three hours before the midday popping of the keg.
The Oktoberfest’s giant beer tents were soon full, too, even though it would be a couple of hours before the beer would flowed. Revelers formed long lines outside the tents with hopes of getting in soon.
By the time the Münchner Kindl, or Munich child — a symbol of the Bavarian capital — led the entry parade of the Oktoberfest landlords and breweries, the sun was shining down from a blue-white Bavarian sky.
After canon salvos signaled to the other tents that the first keg was tapped, the beer began to flow as servers with fists full of 1-liter beer mugs jockeyed their way through the crush of visitors.
With bands playing beer-drinking songs and pop classics, people were soon standing on the benches singing, swaying and toasting each other.
The grounds were jam-packed the rest of the day as visitors strolled down it lanes. The doors to most of the tents were closed much of the afternoon and early evening because of overfilling.
Lines were even forming at the Oktoberfest’s amusement rides as visitors waited for their thrills.
Organizers expect about 6 million visitors before the Oktoberfest closes on Oct. 6.