Germany wrapped up its world-famous Oktoberfest beer festival Sunday, reporting that 6.4 million visitors drank 6.7 million litre-sized Mass glasses — more than twice the volume of an Olympic swimming pool — of the amber nectar over 16 days.
The 180th edition of the Munich celebration of beer, lederhosen, dirndl dresses and oompah music was “extremely relaxed, folk festival fun for every taste”, said its organiser Dieter Reiter.
In festival kitchens, 114 oxen and 58 calves fell victim to the appetite of revellers who also washed down with frothy beer other traditional foods like giant pretzels, pork and dumplings.
The number of visitors who needed medical attention during the gigantic beer fest fell 20 percent to 7,551, said the Red Cross, including 638 cases of alcohol poisoning and many people who suffered cuts from broken glass.
Police said they were called out 2,031 times, exactly the same number as the previous year, including for 58 beer-fuelled brawls, almost 450 cases of assault and over 500 cases of pickpocketing.
Many visitors were spotted from Australia and the United States, Asia, Africa and the Arab world, said organisers, adding that “apparently because of the economic situation, many Italians stayed away”.
Beer festival guests lost 4,200 personal items, including more than 1,000 passports or ID cards, 520 wallets, 400 sets of keys, 50 cameras, two wedding rings and one Segway personal transporter.
Although the Oktoberfest started over 200 years ago, this year’s event is the 180th as the party was cancelled during both world wars, two cholera outbreaks, Napoleon’s invasion of Bavaria and the hyperinflation of the 1920s.
The festival was originally held in October, as the name suggests, but was brought forward by one month to take advantage of better weather.