"Ozapft is" is the motto again in Munich today - the Oktoberfest begins. Thousands of Oktoberfest visitors flocked to the festival grounds the morning before the official opening. When the entrances opened shortly after 9 a.m., many people ran to secure a place in a tent. Some of the mostly young visitors had waited at the entrances since dawn to get a good spot in a beer tent. The early guests have to be patient in the tents until they can quench their thirst for beer: Munich's mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) is supposed to tap the first keg at 12 p.m. - only then will there be beer.
Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) receives the first freshly tapped beer; it traditionally goes to the Bavarian head of government.
It is eagerly awaited to see how many strokes the mayor needs when tapping. Before the pandemic it was always two strokes, only last year he needed three after two festivals that were canceled due to corona and with a heavier mallet.
Around six million visitors are expected over 18 festival days - at least. Because the signs are good this year: There are no particular concerns about Corona and the meteorologists are predicting sunny, warm autumn days, at least for the opening weekend. The festival also lasts two days longer than usual; it was extended beyond the first weekend in October until October 3rd - a Tuesday. In 2022, there were around 5.7 million fewer guests than usual in wet and cold weather. In the southern part of the festival grounds, the Oidn Wiesn once again attracts visitors with historical carousels and traditional brass music.
State elections will not play a role
Unlike at other folk festivals - such as the Gillamoos in Lower Bavaria with the traditional political beer tent speeches - the state elections in Bavaria on October 8th will not play a role at the Oktoberfest. The operating regulations prohibit political events, including election campaigns, as well as advertising events.
Once again, many celebrities are expected at the festival. The great-grandson of the last Bavarian king, Franz Duke of Bavaria, the president of the social association VdK and ex-biathlete, Verena Bentele, and SPD federal leader Lars Klingbeil are expected to be in the council box of the Schottenhamel tent.
Entrepreneur Regine Sixt is inviting people to her ladies' Oktoberfest for the first time since the pandemic. Influencer Cathy Hummels is doing her Oktoberfest tour, and actor Ralf Moeller (64) has already announced his visit. Moeller said he assumes that his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hollywood star and former governor of California, will not miss the Oktoberfest either.
The list of prominent guests is long
On the guest list of the celebrity event Almauftrieb for the 25th anniversary are Scooter frontman H.P. Baxxter, stars of FC Bayern Munich (and ex-stars like Hasan Salihamidžić) and three of Boris Becker's ex-partners: Barbara Becker, Lilly Becker and his ex-fiancée Sandy Meyer-Wölden.
The beer costs between 12.60 euros and 14.90 euros. That's an average of around 6.1 percent more than in the previous year. For the first time there will be free drinking water on the festival grounds. Four water coolers were set up.
Around 600 police officers will be on duty. There are also around 450 paramedics and 55 doctors from the Oktoberfest medical station as well as well over 2,000 stewards. Once again there is a ban on larger bags and backpacks. There is a ban on flying over the festival grounds - including for drones. Extensive road closures around the festival site apply to e-scooters - similar to cars.
The city’s official Oktoberfest website