People dressed in traditional clothes take part in Oktoberfest
Long ago, the festival was brought forward to September in the hope of better weather. But come rain or shine, few care once the beer starts flowing. The Mayor of Munich Dieter Reiter opened the first keg in keeping with tradition, paving the way for service to commence in the fourteen beer tents.
Outside, long queues had formed from the early hours even though not a drop is served before noon. Even the price of ten Euros a litre is little deterrent.
Six million visitors are anticipated, up to a fifth of them coming to Germany from abroad. They are expected to down seven million litres of beer between now and the end of the festival on October 5th.