This September, the traditional cry of “O’zapft is!” (it’s tapped) will sound from Munich again as the world-famous Oktoberfest resumes after a two-year cancellation.
Munich announced the hugely popular celebration of beer, food, and fancy dress will take place between September 17 and October 3, 2022, Germany’s national day, after the rollicking annual festival was shut down for two years by the pandemic.
Announcing the news, Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said the festival will return “without conditions and restrictions” — meaning there will be no face masks or vaccine passes required for entry, and no social distancing inside the tents.
The festival, which has swelled to more than seven million visitors in recent years, started in 1880 for the wedding of Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Two years later the beer tents arrived and now it’s Germany’s biggest tourist attraction.
It’s usually a reliable event on the calendar and has only been cancelled a handful of times. The first shut down was caused by the Napoleonic Wars, four years after the festival began. It was closed again in 1854 due to a cholera epidemic, in 1886 because of the Austria-Prussian War, in 1870 due to the Franco-Prussian War, and again in 1873 due to another bout of cholera. One of the last major cancellations occurred during both World War I and World War II when Oktoberfest was cancelled for several years in a row.
Due to present global events, the decision to bring it back this year was not taken lightly, according to Reiter. There were concerns that a two-and-a-half-week celebration may seem inappropriate given the still-present threat of the virus and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, but ultimately it was agreed that “it’s up to everyone to decide for themselves anyway whether and how much they want to celebrate,” Reiter told a news conference.