Everyone loves a royal marriage--just look at the buzz that surrounded Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s affair last year or William and Kate’s back in 2011! One royal marriage that you may not have known about, but should definitely have on your radar this week, is that of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. It was their marriage on October 12, 1810, that kicked off what is today the world’s largest fair: Oktoberfest.
This year is Munich, Germany’s 186th edition of Oktoberfest. Since the fair’s inception, only war and a particularly nasty outbreak of cholera have kept the brewers at bay. Nothing else has come between Munich and its beer-drenched festivities.
But how did a royal marriage, which is often a subdued occasion, turn into the incredible multi-week event that it is today?
On that famed October day, all of the citizens of Munich were invited to partake in the marriage festivities that were held before the city gates. One of those events was horse racing; it was such a hit that everyone decided it had to be an annual thing. Horses, not malt and hops, started Oktoberfest.
The second year of Oktoberfest, an agricultural show was introduced to help promote Bavarian agriculture. Over time, more entertainment aspects were added, such as carousels and swings. A few small beer stands were set up, a few more were added the next year, a few more the next, until stands became tents backed by the local breweries
Nowadays, there are plenty of things to experience at Oktoberfest in addition to the beer halls. Traditional foods like pretzels, würstl, and sauerkraut are served, roller coasters are set up, there are processions with folks in costume, and there are even concerts throughout the event!
Oktoberfest traditionally begins in the third weekend of September and concludes on the first Sunday of October. It may be a little late to round up your beer-loving friends and jet off to Munich this year, but there is always next! If you’re ready to begin planning for this unforgettable event, contact me and we’ll work out all of the details!
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.