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For Oktoberfest-Goers In Munich, A Parade And A Party

Munich kicked off this year's Oktoberfest Saturday, beginning festivities in which the city expects to host 6 million visitors. Today's events included a parade celebrating Bavarian culture – and of course, the rampant consumption of beer, served in a traditional one-liter Mass mug.

The 16-day festival will end on Oct. 5. In that time, organizers say people will drink enough beer to fill more than two Olympic swimming pools. And as we noted in a post back in 2011, celebrants normally lose more than 4,000 items at Munich's big party. The lost property has previously included a wheelchair and a Viking helmet.

Looking around for news from this year's festival, we noticed these interesting bits:

  • For the first time, beer prices have risen over 10 euros ($12.83) for one liter.
  • The traditional men's Gamsbart hat – with a tuft of animal hair representing a hunting trophy – is a status symbol that "costs around 1000 euros," or $1,283, according to Deutsche Welle.
  • In the Ochsenbraterei beer tent, the specialty is roast oxen, reports Germany's The Local. A plate of the meat, which is roasted on-site, costs nearly 16 euros (about $20.50).
  • Nearly 7 million liters of beer will be served. Most of it is around 6 percent alcohol by volume.
  • In the Hofbräu-Festzelt tent, "an entire field of hops is used to decorate," The Local says.
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    Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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