Photo Gallery Two Hundred Years of Oktoberfest

Soberly speaking, Oktoberfest is the world's biggest drinking fest. But the real magic comes after you drink your first liter of beer -- the annual party is one of the last refuges of carefree excess. This year, a Munich museum dedicated to the city's history, the Stadtmuseum, is putting on an exhibition of 200 years of Oktoberfest.
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Beer at Oktoberfest is served in giant one-liter mugs, ensuring that everyone's thirst gets quenched.

Foto: MICHAELA REHLE/ REUTERS
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The city is well-prepared for the problems caused by alcohol and excess at the world's biggest beer fest. The 6 million visitors who descend on the Wiesn' each year to partake in the mayhem create considerable work for police and security officials.

Foto: A3817 Tobias Hase/ dpa
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On any given day, the first visiters begin streaming into the Wiesn' (short for Theresienwiese, the site where Oktoberfest is held) as early as 7:30 a.m. Without a reservation in one of the tents, getting there early is often the only way to ensure you can get access to the beer halls.

Foto: A2585 Frank Leonhardt/ dpa
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This year, Oktoberfest is celebrating its 200th anniversary. This postcard depicts Oktoberfest in 1895. "Greetings from Oktoberfest!"

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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Come to the Wiesn! This 1972 poster is an advertisement for Oktoberfest by artist Franz Wischnewski.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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The Oktoberfest tradition goes back to Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria ...

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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... who married Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810. To commemorate their wedding, the later King Ludwig organized a horse race that would eventually come to be known as Oktoberfest.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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Fischer-Vroni was one of the biggest beer tents on the Wiese. The tent became famous for the fish it sells, which are roasted on sticks. Fischer-Vroni has been in business since 1902; pictured here is the half-timbered building it used in 1907.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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Tents, dirndls and traditional "Trachten" jackets. This was the look at Oktoberfest in 1890. The traditional dress is still a regular feature today.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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A postcard designed by Paul Otto Engelhard in 1910. Rides and other fairground attractions have been a part of the Oktoberfest tradition since the early days.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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"Madness" -- this sign was taken from the Moonlift carrousel, an attraction featured at the 1990 Oktoberfest.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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In addition to liters of beer from Munich-based breweries, some of the best in the world, the pretzel is also a traditional part of Oktoberfest. Here a woman can be seen selling them at a stand at the 1910 Oktoberfest.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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Tradition Bavarian hats -- often loaded with plumage -- have also been a regular feature at Oktoberfest.

Foto: Münchner Stadtmuseum
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