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Oktoberfest is the world’s largest beer festival and is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It’s referred to as a Volksfest which means ‘people’s festival’ and combines a beer festival, wine festival and travelling funfair. The festival is a 16 to 18 day folk festival running from mid to late September until the first Sunday in October.
It is an important part of Bavarian culture and has been running since 1810. More than 6 million people around the world usually attend each year. A number of other cities around the world hold Oktoberfest celebrations that are based on the original Munich event. During the event large amounts of Bavarian beer is consumed and during the 16 day festival in 2013, 7.7 million litres of beer was consumed. There is also a wide range of traditional foods available along with attractions such as amusement rides, games and stalls selling local products.
Traditionally Oktoberfest was always a 16 day festival but in 1994 the schedule was changed in response to German Unity Day which is when East and West Germany were reunited into a single state. German Unity Day is a public bank holiday held on the 3rd October each year. If the first Sunday in October falls on the 1st or 2nd October then the festival will run until the 3rd October lengthening the festival to 17 or 18 days.
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