Oktoberfest is a German beer festival held every year in September. The tradition dates back to the early 1800s, and has grown to become the largest beer festival in the world, attracting over 6 million visitors each year to Germany. Oktoberfest is celebrated in Munich over 16 days and is the city's most profitable tourist attraction.
The Bavarian Oktoberfest has inspired similar festivals around the world. It traditionally starts in the third weekend in September and ends the first Sunday in October. In the first few decades, the choices of amusements were sparse. Visitors were able to drink beer at small beer stands, which were eventually replaced by beer tents and then beer halls which were backed by breweries. The remainder of the festival site was taken up by fun which consisted of food, live entertainment, live animals, contests and competitions.
The festival is accompanied by numerous events. The first is the opening ceremony which begins with a parade of dignitaries, performers and dancers down the main street to the beer tent. The official “tapping of the keg” is the next event and is usually done by the mayor of the hosting city, where anxious onlookers are able to quench their thirst with the first keg of beer. Other traditional fun activities are the many contests, competitions, and live musical performances that run throughout the festival, including the Chicken dance.
The Oktoberfest celebrated its 203rd anniversary in 2013 in Munich, Germany. Today Oktoberfest’s are held throughout the world. On September 12th - 14th of 2014 New Britain, Connecticut will hold its 2nd annual Oktoberfest in downtown. Over 35,000 people are expected to attend. It’s the beginning of a new local tradition.