The History of Oktoberfest
It all began with a wedding...
On October 12, 1810, Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The citizens of Munich were invited to participate in the festivities held in the fields in front of the city's gate. The fields were renamed to Theresienwiese ("Theres'a Fields") to honor the Crown Princess. To mark the end of this most joyous event there was a horse race in the presence of the royal family, and the decision to repeat the horse race each year brought about the tradition of Oktoberfest.
Speaking of the horse races...
The horse races no longer take place, but in 1811 an Agricultural Show was added, and that still takes place every three years to this day. Over the years other attractions were added and small beer stands gave way to beer tents and halls to quench the thirst of the many tourists that come to celebrate this major event. Other fair like activities were added including rides and games, and although there have been years during periods of war and cholera outbreaks where this celebration was squelched, Oktoberfest still remains the largest festival in the world!
2019 marks the 186th Oktoberfest in Munich. And while it is on many people's bucket lists to visit this beer fest, you don't neccesarily have to travel to Germany to find fun at Oktoberfest. There are many Oktoberfest celebrations throughout the United States that run in late September. Oktoberfest traditionally begins the third week of September and runs through the first weekend of October. So, if a trip to Germany isn't in the budget this year, maybe you could find a fest a little closer to home to celebrate this long-standing German tradition.