HomeWorld'O'zapft is!': Germany's Oktoberfest reopens after a 2-year hiatus

‘O’zapft is!’: Germany’s Oktoberfest reopens after a 2-year hiatus

Beer is flowing at Munich’s world-renowned Oktoberfest for the first time after a two-year break.

Beer is flowing at Munich’s world-renowned Oktoberfest for the first time after a two-year break.

Beer is flowing at Munich’s world-famous Oktoberfest for the first time since 2019.

Three knocks of a hammer and “Ozaft is there!” With the traditional cry of! – “It’s tapped!” – Mayor Dieter Reiter tapped into the keg earlier in the afternoon on Saturday, officially inaugurating the festivities after a two-year break forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Oktoberfest, which draws around 6 million visitors each year to the normally packed festival grounds in Bavaria’s capital, did not take place in 2020 and 2021 as authorities grapple with an unexpected growth of COVID-19 infections and restrictions.

This year those concerns were allayed. The city announced in late April that Oktoberfest would go ahead, and Reiter said on Saturday that “it was a good decision.”

“I’m glad we can finally celebrate together,” Bavarian governor Marcus Soeder said at the opening ceremony. “There are many who say, ‘Can’t we? Is it fair now?’ I want to say only one thing: we have two or three difficult years behind us, no one knows exactly what this winter will be like, and we need joie de vivre and strength.

Three hours before Reiter tapped his first keg, revelers rushed to secure seats in giant beer tents as the festival gates opened.

They will require significantly deeper pockets than previous Oktoberfests, with brewers and visitors facing inflationary pressures.

According to the festival’s official homepage, this year the price for 1 liter (2-pint) of beer is between 12.60 and 13.80 euros (dollars), an increase of about 15% compared to 2019.

This year’s Oktoberfest, the 187th edition of the event, will run until 3 October.

Soeder told the daily Muenchner Merkur newspaper in comments published earlier on Saturday that the number of coronavirus infections would probably increase after Oktoberfest, but “at the same time, thankfully, we are not measuring undue stress on hospitals anywhere.”

“It speaks to us being in a new phase of corona,” he said, adding that the authorities will try to protect the vulnerable, but will not stop the celebration.

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