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Munich’s Oktoberfest celebrates 200th birthday

October 18, 2010 - GERMANY

The 200th anniversary of the world's biggest public festival can be counted on to draw many more visitors than the usual 6 million or so and raise the level of terror threats. The first will please Bavaria's brewers. The second poses security worries for the authorities. Police received terror threats in 2009 ahead of the country's election. Landmarks that included the Oktoberfest appeared on a Taliban video. Police cancelled flights over the festival as a precaution.

The 200th anniversary of the world's biggest public festival can be counted on to draw many more visitors than the usual 6 million or so and raise the level of terror threats. The first will please Bavaria's brewers. The second poses security worries for the authorities. Police received terror threats in 2009 ahead of the country's election, and landmarks that included the Oktoberfest appeared on a Taliban video. Police cancelled flights over the festival as a precaution. Special events for the 200th could include a traditional horse race. It was last run in 1938, after which it was cancelled for political reasons. Visitors consumed 6.5 million litres (1.17 million US gallons) per head at the 2009 Oktoberfest, according to a news release. The industry predicts 2010 will be a good year for beer. Monstors & Critics reports that a working group is working on proposals for the anniversary. Rumor has it that, besides traditional staples such as the music carousel and the flea circus, 2010 will see other attractions and stalls of bygone years restored. Das Bierfest 2010 is also likely to see its more commonplace traditions. The 2009 Oktoberfest press release noted that 111 oxen were eaten in the 14 huge tents on the 31-hectare field in Munich known as die Theresienwiese (named for Princess Therese), and that Munich police reported a record 759 'beer corpses'; -; people drunk and senseless. Bavarian brewers such as Paulaner, Löwenbräu or Spaten sponsor the tents. The festival's origins lie in the five-day public celebration in honour of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria and Theresa of Saxony-Hildburghausen on 12 Oct 1810. The party was so popular that it and its accompanying horse race were repeated the following and most subsequent years, interrupted only by war.

Oktoberfest web

Flights over Oktoberfest banned after Taliban video terror threat (Guardian 27 Oct 2009)

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Munich Oktoberfest 2010

Oktoberfest PR bulletin 12 Nov 2009

Date written/update: 2010-10-18