In Sight

Oktoberfest: Photos from inside Germany’s beer-flowing tradition

The 185th Oktoberfest kicked off Sept. 22 in Munich, a beer-based celebration where revelers dress in traditional lederhosen, leather breeches that resemble suspenders, or dirndls, commonly described as Alpine peasant dresses. This year, an estimated 6 million visitors are expected to attend the 16-day event.

During the opening celebrations, Washington Post photojournalist Matt McClain was one of them. Here’s what he saw.

The beer-flowing, lederhosen-wearing Oktoberfest of today looks different from the event from which it originated. The tradition was inspired by a wedding in 1810, when several days of celebration followed the union of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Guests enjoyed the festivities so much that the party was repeated, year after year.

Oktoberfest is now celebrated around the world, but in Munich, locals refer to the festival as "die Wiesn.” The fairgrounds where Oktoberfest is held is named Theresienwiese (Theresa’s meadows) after Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, the bride from the 1810 wedding. “Wiesn” is the colloquial name for the fairgrounds.

At Oktoberfest this year, a liter of beer costs as much as 11.50 euros ($13.50), according to the Associated Press, marking an increase of 55 cents more than last year.

The last keg will be tapped Oct. 7.