Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins

Oktoberfest, the world’s most famous beer festival, kicked off its 179th edition at the Theresienwiese fairground in Germany on 22 September. Christian Ude, the Lord Mayor of Munich, tapped the first keg of Oktoberfest beer to declare the 16-day event open. The traditional opening ceremony also included a 12-gun salute. The opening day of Oktoberfest 2012 coincided with the autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere, which brought heavy rain to Munich. Millions of beer drinkers from around the world will crowd into the Bavarian capital over the next two weeks for a festival that is also a showcase for Bavarian culture.

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
A reveller uses a plastic bag to cover herself from heavy rain on the opening day of the Munich Oktoberfest, at the Theresienwiese in Munich, 22 September, 2012. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
Women in traditional Bavarian clothing prepare for the 179th Oktoberfest in Munich, 22 September 2012. (REUTERS/Guido Krzikowski)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
An empty Oktoberfest beer tent four days before the opening of the beer festival in Munich. (REUTERS/Michael Dalder)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
A trader covers his traditional gingerbread to protect it from heavy rain on the opening day of the Munich Oktoberfest, at the Theresienwiese in Munich, September 22 2012. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
People queue outside the Schottenhamel tent to watch the opening of the 179th Oktoberfest in Munich. (Reuters)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
Two men in traditional dress await the opening of the 179th Oktoberfest in Munich. (Reuters)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
Revellers protect themselves from heavy rain on the opening day of Oktoberfest in Munich. (Reuters)

Oktoberfest 2012: World’s Biggest Beer Festival Begins
A trader arranges candy and Bavarian mascots on a stall at Oktoberfest in Munich. (Reuters)

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