8 fun facts about Munich's Oktoberfest

If you have even the faintest interest in beer, you'll know that brew lovers from around the world gather each year in Munich, Germany to celebrate Oktoberfest.  The 16-day drink fest that runs through Oct. 5 serves only beers that conform to German purity regulations (the Reinheitsgebot) and which are brewed within the city limits of Munich.

If you aren't lucky enough to make it to the Bavarian capital, don't worry, there are plenty of Oktoberfests in the U.S. where you can raise a pint.  But Germany's original fest is a bucketlist item for sure.

Read on to learn just how massive it is, and watch one of the festival videos here.

As they say in Munich, Prost!

1. 204 years

(iStock)

Wish Oktoberfest 2014 a very happy 204th birthday. In 1810, the very first Oktoberfest took place in Munich, Germany to honor Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage. Today, the 16-day beer festival is still going strong.

2. 1.8 million gallons of beer

(AP/Four Seasons)

If you're wondering how much beer is consumed by the 6 million people that go to Oktoberfest each year --it's a lot.  To be precise, it's 1.8 million gallons of beer. That's like filling the legendary King’s Pond pool at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii with brew.

3. 48,000 bakers striking

Pretzel, Obatzter (which is a traditional bavarian creme cheese) and beer on bavarian napkin; selective focus

Pretzel, Obatzter (which is a traditional bavarian creme cheese) and beer on bavarian napkin; selective focus (iStock)

This year, 48,000 members of the baker's union threatened to strike, inciting fear of a possible pretzel shortage, or as you say in Munich, Riesnbrezn shortage.  In the end, the bakers chose to respect the Oktoberfest tradition and are keeping the pretzels flowing.

4. 15 beds for hungover festival goers

Symbol plus on white background. Isolated 3D image

Symbol plus on white background. Isolated 3D image (iStock)

In an effort to keep festival attendees as safe, the Red Cross has set up 15 hangover beds for people, in case they need to sleep off the booze for a while. That doesn't seem like a lot for the more than 7,000 people that come to the Red Cross tent for treatment each year, but I guess it's better than none.  They've also got spare pants, too, just in case you need those too.

5. 4,000 lost and found items

(iStock)

Each year, over 4,000 items end up in the Oktoberfest lost and found. The weirdest from 2013 was a set of dentures.

6. $13 per brew

(iStock)

Beer prices differ in the various tents at Oktoberfest, but a traditional stein, which is slightly less than 34 ounces, will cost you about $13.

7. 10,000 in a tent

At the oktoberfest Munich. Hundreds or maybe thousands of poeple are inside one of the big beertents, sitting or standing on their benches, talking, drinking and having fun.  Many of them dressed in dirndls or leather pants.  In front is the band playing drinking songs.

At the oktoberfest Munich. Hundreds or maybe thousands of poeple are inside one of the big beertents, sitting or standing on their benches, talking, drinking and having fun. Many of them dressed in dirndls or leather pants. In front is the band playing drinking songs. (iStock)

At Oktoberfest, there's a lot of standing, as there are fewer seats than there are visitors. The largest Oktoberfest beer tent of all time was the Pschorr-Brau-Rosl-tent in 1913, which held 12,000 people. Today, the Hofbrau-Festhalle is the largest tent, with 10,000 seats. But you better get there early.

8. 12 bites to soak up the beer

Bavarian meal. White sausages with sweet mustard and pretzels

Bavarian meal. White sausages with sweet mustard and pretzels (iStock)

There is a variety of traditional, hearty fare to be had at Oktoberfest. Offerings include Hendl (roast chicken), Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Haxn (pork knuckle), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Wurstl (sausages), Brezn (pretzel), Knodeln (potato or bread dumplings), Kaasspotzn (cheese noodles), Reiberdatschi (potato pancakes), Sauerkraut or Rotkraut (pickled red cabbage), Obatzda (a fatty, spiced cheese-butter concoction), and Weisswurst (white sausage). So dig in!