Oktoberfest Parades

OKTOBERFEST PARADES: Two big parades help get the Oktoberfest underway. 
Try and see at least some of the Costume und Riflemen's Procession on the first Sunday – a spectacle almost as good as that inside one of the beer tents when things are kicking at 9pm on a Friday night. 
Both parades are led by a young Munich woman on horseback dressed as the Münchner Kindl, the monk-inspired city mascot. 

The Oktoberfest parades are:

Grand entry of the Oktoberfest Landlords and Breweries (Einzug der Festwirte

Opening Saturday

A kind of prelude to the fest, this parade has about 1,000 Oktoberfest workers, carneys and proprietors rambling down Sonnen Strasse to the Theresienwiesen. 
Included are the hard-working waiters and waitresses on decorated floats, the beer tent bands and the tents’ proprietors in carriages. 
The horse-drawn drays of the Munich breweries deliver some of the first drops of beer. This parade starts at 10.45am and lasts about an hour.

oktoberfest-paradesON THE WAY: The Paulaner brewery cart on its way to the Oktoberfest. Photo by Peter Becker

The Costume und Riflemen's Procession (Trachten- und Schützenumzug

Opening Sunday

Over 8,000 marchers don their finest provincial apparel for this parade through the centre of Munich to the Wiesn.
It’s fascinating to watch. Not just the ubiquitous Lederhosen and Dirndls are represented but traditional costumes from across Germany as well as Italy, Croatia, Austria, Poland and Switzerland. It's by far the biggest of the two Oktoberfest parades.
I get a particular kick out of the women from Black Forest region with their Bollenhut hats topped with bright red pompoms. Joining the parade are flag-throwers, marching bands, riflemen in historical uniforms, carriages and floats, dancers, horses, oxen, cows and goats. 
The first parade was in 1835 to mark the silver wedding anniversary of King Ludwig I and Princes Theresa of Bavaria. The event was revived in 1950 and has since become an integral part of the fest and is broadcast live on German TV. 
Start point for the 7km-long course is the Maximiliansbrücke (bridge) at the Isar River. 
The parade proceeds west along Maximilian Strasse, up to Odeonsplatz, down past Karlsplatz (Stachus) and west alongSchwanthaler Strasse to the Oktoberfest grounds. 
The parade starts at 10am and takes about 2.5 hours. 

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