The world's largest fair has a royal background

Oktoberfest is a two-week festival held each year in Germany during late September and early October (27-9-2007 to 7-10-2007). It is one of the most famous events in the city and the world's largest fair, with some six million people from around the world attending every year.

The festival originated in Theresienwiese (also known as Wies'n) in the 1800s when Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities on the fields in front of the city gates.

Horse races that were first held at the wedding celebrations became so popular among the people that they decided to repeat them every year. This gave rise to the tradition of Oktoberfest.

An added feature to the horse races was the first agricultural show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture. show.Visitors at this show were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands which grew rapidly in number. In 1896 the stands were replaced with tents and halls set up by enterprising landlords with the backing of breweries. There are currently 14 main tents at the Oktoberfest.

The festival has now become synonymous with drinking and making merry. There are 12,000 people employed at the Oktoberfest and there is available seating for 100,000 people. One of the biggest talking points of the festival is how much a litre of beer will cost. This year Germany will celebrate its 174th Oktoberfest. The fest is still held on the Theresienwiese, so "welcome to the Wies'n" means nothing other than "welcome to Oktoberfest".

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