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The first Oktoberfest was actually part of a marriage celebration when, in October of 1810, Bavarian King Max Joseph gave a big time wedding for Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, with the Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. It culminated with a series of horse races and gave rise to the tradition of the October festival, and in the following year, became an annual affair commemorating this grand wedding forevermore. The Oktoberfest we know today, evolved over time and incorporated a number of different traditions.
The Oktoberfest is now celebrated in September, because the chilly Bavarian October winds blowing from the Alps, can surprise with an early cold and snow. The 16-day Fest always starts on a Saturday in September and ends on the 1st Sunday in October. Over time certain rituals evolved which are followed from year to year.

For the Opening day ceremonies, promptly at 11 a.m. a parade enters the grounds on the Wies'n headed by the Münchner Kindl--the little Munich city's coat of arms. The mayor arrives in a festive coach followed by civic dignitaries and horse-drawn brewer's carts decorated with flowers. This colorful ceremony with elaborate floats, beer bands and men, women and children wearing traditional costumes (lederhosen and dirndls) dates back to 1887. More than 7,0000 people participate in the four-mile long parade.

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Additional Photos by Goncalo Lopes (Bluejeans) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9250 W: 115 N: 13285] (64251)
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