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October 17, 2011

STRUTH! Oktoberfest Carnage


IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that if you thought patrons at this year's Oktoberfest in Munich were pretty good at tossing down the amber stuff, they were anything than remiss when it came to getting stuck into the tucker as well.

This year's 6.9-million visitors drank their way through 7.5-million litres of beer, about half a million more litres than last year, and to go with it chomped down steaks and other cuts from 118-roasted oxen, 53-calves, thousands of roast chickens, truck loads of pork knuckles, and pork sausages whose consumption was counted in the tens of thousands each day.

But revellers who came from across Europe and as far away as the United States and Australia for the three weeks of the festival that's just ended, must have found all that beer and food a bit taxing on the memory: amongst 4570 items handed-in to the Lost & Found office were 1045 passports, 390 mobile phones, a walking frame, two un-matching crutches, a set of dentures – and a Viking helmet and 48 children.

"We are still trying to find owners for many of these items," a spokesman said a week after the festival closed. "But at least all the 48 children were claimed."

The history of Oktoberfest goes back 201 years to when Bavaria's Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen and invited the townspeople of Munich to join their wedding party on a public green called the Theresienwiesen, just outside the city centre.

Oktoberfest is still held there to this day, with fourteen massive beer tents – some holding up to 10,000 people – erected just for the occasion and dismantled straight after so that the green can revert to public use.

Next year's Oktoberfest will be held there from September 22 to October 7.



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