Six million visitors attended Munich’s 172nd annual Oktoberfest, setting a new record for attendance, although beer consumption was down somewhat from recent years.
Record prices of more than 8 dollars per one-liter stein of beer may have contributed to making this year’s partiers more abstemious. Fewer than 6 million liters were consumed, compared to the average of one liter per visitor in past years.
The festival was kicked off September 18th with the traditional ceremonial tapping of the first barrel of beer in the Schottenhammel tent by the Mayor of Munich, Christian Ude. With three hits, the beer began to flow and the mayor was able to cry the time-honored words “Ozapft is!” (“It is tapped!”).
Twelve shots rang out to indicate to the other beer tents that beer may be served, while Bavarian state premier Edmund Stoiber quaffed the first liter.