BERLIN Oct 4 Revellers at Germany's
Oktoberfest, the world's largest folk festival, consumed a
record 7.5 million litres (1.65 million Imp gallons) of beer
during the 17-day party which ended on Monday in blazing
Despite gloom in Germany about the spiralling debt crisis,
the festival drew some 6.9 million visitors, many clad in
traditional Bavarian lederhosen or dirndls, said the organisers.
Although most visitors come from Bavaria, home of the
Oktoberfest, over a million travel to Munich from abroad, mostly
from Italy, the United States and Australia.
To the rousing strains of oompah bands, partygoers devoured
118 oxen and 53 calves. But, as usual, the most popular fare to
help soak up a "Mass", or litre mug, of beer was roast chicken
-- hundreds of thousands of which were consumed, along with pork
"The atmosphere at the Oktoberfest was, until the last day,
absolutely excellent," said Munich mayor Christian Ude, who
described it as a "Dream Oktoberfest".
The organisers were particularly pleased that there were
only 58 brawls in which drinkers used their "Masskrug", or heavy
litre beer mugs, as a weapon, said police.
In true Teutonic tradition, the clear-up is already well
under way and the Lost and Found office is sifting through its
collection of curiosities. This year they include an
8-centimetre long live grasshopper, a Viking helmet, a walking
frame, two crutches and a set of dentures.
A total of 4,750 items were handed in, including 1,045
passports and 390 mobile telephones, said the office. The 48
children who were lost have all been claimed.
Although the strong, specially brewed beer is probably the
main draw, especially for tourists from abroad, the festival's
organisers have tried to restore a more traditional feel to the
celebrations with folk music and historic funfair rides.
The Oktoberfest was first celebrated 201 years ago when
Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese von
Sachsen-Hildburghausen and invited Munich's citizens to join the
party on the Theresienwiesen, a patch of green just outside the
Nowadays the tents get so full, especially at weekends, that
burly officials have to close the doors. Local firms often book
out whole benches for corporate entertainment.
(Editing by Paul Casciato)