12 fun facts about Oktoberfest that might surprise you

As the end of September approaches, millions of people around the world are getting ready to attend Oktoberfest, an annual festival in Munich, Germany, that celebrates all things hoppy.

In addition to bringing in over $1 billion in tourism money, millions of gallons of beer are drunk over the course of 16 days, and thousands of sausages are consumed.

Keep scrolling to learn more about the 209-year-old event.


The very first Oktoberfest was held on October 12, 1810 in Munich.

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Cheers.
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Business Insider / Sarah Jacobs

It was to celebrate the royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen.

Another fun fact: 30 years later, the first lager was brewed in America by a Bavarian immigrant in Philadelphia, a man named John Wagner who owned and operated a beer hall in the city.


Over the past 209 years, Oktoberfest been cancelled only 24 times, and for reasons like cholera outbreaks or war.

It was cancelled in 1813, due to a war against Napoleon. It was cancelled in 1854 and 1873 due to a cholera epidemic, then again in 1866 due to a war against Prussia. In 1870, due to involvement in the Franco-Prussian War, it was once again cancelled.

From 1914 to 1918, World War I prevented the festival from taking place, while in 1919 and 1920, it was simply called an autumn festival. In 1923 and and 1924, it was cancelled due to inflation.

Then again, from 1939 to 1945, Oktoberfest was put on hold during World War II – and just like the prior war, it was just called an autumn festival in ’46, ’47, and ’48.


The festival makes the city of Munich $1.43 billion in tourism money.

Tourists spend money on lodging, food, drinks, transportation, clothing – everyone should rock a dirndl or lederhosen – and souvenirs.


6.3 million people attended Oktoberfest in 2018, but the most-attended festival was in 1985, when 7.1 million people showed up.

That is a lot of drunk people.


There are 38 different beer tents, and some can fit as many as 11,00 people.

Some of the most popular ones are the Hofbräu, Hacker-Pschorr, Schützen, and Schottenhamel tents. Each tent has a wholly different vibe.


Can you say prost? 1.98 million gallons of beer are consumed during the 16-day festival.

This year, Oktoberfest runs from September 21 to October 6.


Don’t try to steal your stein. Over 101,000 beer mugs were confiscated from patrons trying to sneak them out in 2018.

Collector’s mugs are for sale. Save yourself the trouble and get one of those.


It’s not just about beer. Over 510,000 whole roast chickens and 60,000 sausages are eaten.

While 124 cows, 48 calves, and 59,000 pork knuckles are also consumed.


In 2018, 840 passports, 460 wallets, 350 phones, and 300 keys turned up at the lost and found.

In total, there were 2,685 lost items waiting to be reclaimed.


You might think it’s a bunch of tourists, but 70% of attendees are actually from Bavaria, Germany.

Only 15% of attendees come from abroad, and 14% of those visitors are from America.


For Americans, it’s not cheap. The estimated cost for an American to get to Oktoberfest is $5,000.

Everything is expensive, from lodging to airfare. In fact, it’s 85% more expensive to stay in Munich during Oktoberfest than staying there a week before or after. And flights are 500% more expensive.

This year, the average cost of a liter of beer is almost $13 (11.54 Euro).


Maybe Oktoberfest is so popular in the US because of the 45.15 million Americans that claim German ancestry.

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The German-American Festival in Oregon, Ohio.
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German-American Festival (GAF)/Facebook

German is the most common European ancestry in the US.