187th Munich Oktoberfest opened – “Feeling like before”

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Germany

After two years of corona break: 187th Munich Oktoberfest opens – “Feeling like before”

The state of emergency begins in Munich. The Oktoberfest has started after a two-year Corona break. Millions of guests from all over the world are expected – and more corona infections.

Ozapft is: The Oktoberfest has started in Munich after a two-year Corona break. Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) tapped the first keg of beer with three hits on Saturday – the years before he had only needed two. Reiter handed the first mass to the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU), who is traditionally present in the tap box. Gun shots announced the start of the 187th Oktoberfest, Reiter and Söder toasted a peaceful Oktoberfest.

Pure joy at the Oktoberfest.

key stone

As early as dawn, thousands of visitors had stayed in the cold and in the drizzle in front of the fairgrounds and “pre-heated”. When the site opened, the crowds rushed towards the beer tents. “It’s the same feeling as before,” said Helga Geier, who sells roasted almonds. For Maxi (27), Mirko (31) and Sebastian (28) it was enough to be in the Paulaner tent two hours before the tapping. They sat at the front with the band. “It’s cool” that the Wiesn is taking place again after a two-year break.

Even if you can celebrate without conditions – the risk of corona has not been banned. The authorities warned visitors to take a test if they had cold symptoms and not to come to the festival sick to protect others. Doctors expect a corona wave after the Wiesn – like after other folk festivals.

“The number of infections will probably increase, that’s the experience of the previous festivals,” said Söder to the “Münchner Merkur” (Saturday). “At the same time, fortunately, we are not measuring an excessive burden on hospitals anywhere. This suggests that we are in a new phase with Corona.”

Because of Corona: Called for caution

Federal Health Minister Karl-Lauterbach called for caution at the start of the Oktoberfest. “I don’t want to be a spoilsport: but anyone who visits the Wiesn should still be careful. A visit is definitely not recommended for those who are already ill. And everyone else should be tested before visiting a tent out of consideration for others, »said the SPD politician on Saturday of the German Press Agency. The fact that the giant folk festival is taking place again is justifiable. “The willingness to vaccinate, the understanding of the measures, the caution of the population make it possible.”

Before the pandemic, six million visitors regularly came to what is probably the largest folk festival in the world. Whether the rush will be as great this year as it used to be remains to be seen. Some expect more guests – others rather less. Concerns about Corona, but also money worries could be the reason. The price of the Mass beer alone has risen by almost 16 percent since 2019. The mass now costs between 12.60 euros and 13.80 euros.

Despite the pandemic, inflation, the Ukraine war, the energy crisis and bad weather: the party mood seemed great. Early in the morning, people in dirndls and lederhosen were on their way to the festival grounds. With temperatures around nine degrees, long queues formed at the entrances to the festival site, which were still closed. Some people have been standing here since 5 a.m. Hundreds also lined the streets of Munich city center when the innkeepers drove to the Theresienwiese with festively decorated wagons and brewery teams in the morning.

Around 600 police officers ensure security during the two weeks of the festival until October 3rd. They are assisted by uniformed police officers from France and Italy, and pickpocket detectives from several countries. The festival guests are randomly checked at the entrances. As in previous years, there is a ban on larger bags and backpacks. (dpa)