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In The Family
When Was the First Oktoberfest?

There’s nothing better than a beer carnival honoring the king’s marriage to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest beer event in the world, with upwards of 6 million people gathering in the German city in mid to late September, a tradition that’s now celebrated all around the world. But Oktoberfest is only one of many volksfests in the Rhineland. Every big town has at least one volksfest a year; Oktoberfest is simply the most famous. Volksfests are essentially beer festivals crossed with traveling carnivals and are a means of celebrating all sorts of historic moments.

Oktoberfest originated in 1811 in Munich, devised to celebrate the marriage of King Ludwig I to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Only royalty and aristocrats were involved in the actual wedding, while Oktoberfest was a party for the common people and has remained a fixture of beer lovers everywhere.

RECIPE: Beer-Braised Pork Tacos

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Max Falkowitz

Max Falkowitz is a food and travel writer for The New York Times, Saveur, GQ, New York magazine’s Grub Street, and other outlets. He’s also the coauthor of The Dumpling Galaxy Cookbook with Helen You.