It’s tapped: Germany’s Oktoberfest opens after 2-year hiatus

MUNICH: The beer flowing in Munich is world famous Oktoberfest for the first time since 2019.
With the three knocks of a hammer and the traditional cry of “O’zapft is” – “It is knocked” – Mayor Dieter Reiter installed the hose in the first bin on Saturday afternoon, officially opening the festival after a two-year hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Oktoberfest normally draws around 6 million visitors a year to the crowded festival grounds of the Bavarian capital, the event did not take place in 2020 and 2021 as authorities grapple with growth unpredictable development of infections and limiting COVID-19.
Those worries were put aside this year. The city announced in late April that Oktoberfest would go ahead, and on Saturday, Reiter said that “it was the right decision.”
“I’m happy that we can finally celebrate together,” said Bavarian governor Markus Soeder spoke at the opening ceremony. “There are many people who say, ‘We can, can we? Is it appropriate now?” I just want to say one thing: We have two or three difficult years left, no one knows exactly what this winter will look like, and we need spirit and strength. ”
Three hours before Reiter knocks on the first barrel, revelers rush to secure seats in the giant beer tents when the gates to the festival open.
They will need significantly deeper pockets than last Oktoberfest, with brewers and visitors facing inflationary pressures.
A 1-liter (2 pint) beer costs between 12.60 and 13.80 euros ($) this year, up about 15% from 2019, according to the festival’s official homepage.
This year’s Oktoberfest, the 187th edition of the event, runs through October 3.
Soeder told the daily Munchner The Merkur newspaper in a comment published earlier on Saturday that the number of coronavirus infections is likely to increase after Oktoberfest but “at the same time, fortunately, we do not measure undue stress on the hospitals anywhere.”
“That says we’re in a new phase of the aura,” he said, adding that authorities would try to protect vulnerable people but not stop celebrations.

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