Munich's first Oktoberfest was held on Oct. 12, 1810, in honor of the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The wedding celebration ended with a horse race five days later and plenty of revelry in between. It has since grown into one of the biggest and most boisterous folk festivals in the world.
A celebration of beer and all things German — including damsels in dirndl dresses and oompah bands — the 16-day Bavarian binge now begins in late September and runs until the first Sunday of October; moved in part due to more favorable weather — which is presumably a good thing given the number of "bierleichen" (beer corpses) lining the fairground’s fields by day’s end. With more than 6 million people attending the fest each year, the statistics — much like many of the event's attendees — are staggering. Consider the following.
1.3 billion: The number of euros (1€ billion) pumped into the Munich economy annually, courtesy of the festival.
7.5 million: The liters of beer that were consumed in 2011.
226,000: The number of souvenir glasses confiscated by security from attendees’ purses and backpacks in 2011.
130,000: The number of letters and post cards sent each year from the Oktoberfest post office, delivered to all corners of the world. (There's no accounting on how many of them are actually legible.)
100,000: The number of seats in tents at the festival.
8,000: The number of people in traditional costume who participate in the annual parade from Maximilian Street through the center of Munich to the Oktoberfest grounds.
4,500: Items turned in to lost and found in 2012, including two wedding rings, a hearing aid, two French horns and one pet dog.
965: The number of toilets, plus over half a mile of urinal troughs, at the fairgrounds
827: The number of inebriated people requiring medical assistance last year.
487: The number of people who were arrested; "a normal Oktoberfest," police said.
116 and 57: The number of oxen and calves, respectively, that were eaten in 2012.
90: The number of pounds of beer carried by Bavarian Anita Schwarz for the 2008 Guinness world record. She carried 19 full beer steins – weighing an average of 5 pounds each – over a distance of 130 feet ... without spilling a drop.
58: The number of people in 2011 knocked on the head with a beer stein during brawls.
48: How many children were lost in 2011.
24: The number of times Oktoberfest has been canceled in the past 200 years, due to cholera epidemics and war.
16: The drinking age in Germany for beer.
12: The number of shots fired for the gun salute signaling the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer.
Zero: The number of false teeth turned in to lost and found in 2012; false teeth almost always go missing during Oktoberfest, but improvements in orthodontic adhesives have ushered in a decline in misplaced dentures.
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