Kilgore planning own festival as Munich, Germany celebrates 188th Oktoberfest
MUNICH, Germany (KLTV) - Record crowds are expected to celebrate the 188th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany this month, marking the massive festival’s second year since back-to-back cancellations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than six million visitors each year make the celebration of Bavarian tradition the largest festival in the world.
Held this year from September 16 to October 3, the annual festival traces its origins to a celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese on October 12, 1810.
“At the end of the wedding celebrations, which lasted several days, a horse race was held on 17 October in the area that is now home to Oktoberfest,” according to the festival’s website. “The race was scheduled to be repeated again the following year, which is how the tradition of Oktoberfest began.”
As the celebrations were repeated, organizers later moved Oktoberfest to late September in favor of more pleasant weather. The name, however, stayed the same.
With a proclamation by the mayor of Munich, “O’zapft is!” or “the keg is tapped,” the customary start to the party kicks off with the tapping of the first beer barrel at noon on opening day.
Special traditions pay tribute to culture and history, including a parade on the first Sunday of Oktoberfest.
”The Costume and Riflemen’s Procession gives an impressive insight into how fascinating and diverse the customs of Bavaria, Franconia, Swabia, other German states.”
Crowds of festival-goers, many dressed in traditional lederhosen and dirndl attire, begin to fill the fairgrounds’ 17 large and 21 small tents, where breweries serve up specially-brewed beer in Masskrugs, large mugs that hold a liter.
Visitors can also sample traditional Bavarian delicacies, including ox roasted on a spit, roast chicken, skewer-grilled fish and roasted almonds.
Bavarian folk music performed by brass bands provide the backdrop for games, rides, food, and fun activities throughout the massive fairgrounds southwest of Munich’s city center.
More than 5,000 miles away, the city of Kilgore is home to one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in East Texas.
Since 2016, the annual celebration has turned the historic downtown area into a family-friendly showcase of German culture.
On Saturday, October 14, German food, a beer garden, live music, local art vendors, and competitions are planned from 1-8 p.m.
Embracing German heritage isn’t limited to a few weeks in the Fall. For the past four decades, the German Heritage Society of East Texas has served as a year-round opportunity to connect people with ties to Germany.
Luncheons are planned monthly in both Longview and Tyler, with special gatherings each year for Oktoberfest and at Christmas.
Organizer Denise Howell says the group is looking to expand its membership and encourages anyone interested in joining to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KLTV & KTRE anchor Lane Luckie is traveling to Germany to explore the deep ties between East Texas and one of America’s closest allies. Click here for more coverage.
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