MUNICH, Germany, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The mayor of Munich, Germany, Saturday declared the annual Oktoberfest open, tapping the first of many kegs of beer to be drained in the next two weeks.
Christian Ude performed the ceremony for the this year's edition of the world-famous beer blast, which will draw millions of tourists and locals to the Theresienwiese fairgrounds.
Oktoberfest coincides with the autumnal equinox. It was established in 1810 as a celebration of the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese.
It has been canceled 24 times in its history due to wars and epidemics.
Oktoberfest has morphed into a celebration of beer itself. The event's centerpiece is a tent that can hold 10,000 people.
The International Business Times said Oktoberfest has been a cause for celebration by local businesses as well. The event fills Munich's restaurants and beer halls and provides 12,000 temporary jobs.
Last year, nearly 7.5 million liters (1.9 million gallons) of beer were sold even though the price for a stein has gone up 43 percent in the last 10 years, the Times said.
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