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Oktoberfest: Germany's Big Beer Bash

Each fall, crowds of partygoers at Munich's Oktoberfest lift steins of golden beer skyward and bellow "Prosit!"  The German holiday began more than 200 years ago in 1810 at the marriage celebration of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Many of the locally brewed beers served at today's festivities are also rooted in history.  Lagers such as Hacker-Pschorr's Oktoberfest Märzen adhere to traditional Bavarian purity laws that allow only water, barley, yeast, and hops.  Revelers fortify themselves with grilled bratwurst, salt-dusted pretzels, and roast chicken while they watch men dressed in lederhosen (leather shorts) whirl ladies to the oompah of brass bands.  The holiday has become wildly popular outside of Germany, but the largest celebration, which attracted more than 5 million attendees in 2011, still occurs on the original wedding fields in Munich.

                     ~ Justine Quart, AFAR magazine, October 2012 issue

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