World's Biggest Beer Festival Opens Amid Tight Security

Organizers say the Oktoberfest party must go on
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2016 6:11 AM CDT
Security Tight as Oktoberfest Opens
People enter a tent and wait for the opening of the 183rd Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2016.   (Matthias Schrader)

Beer lovers from around the world are streaming to Munich's Theresienwiese for the start of this year's Oktoberfest, where security has been tightened following recent attacks. The annual celebration is expected to draw some 6 million visitors to the Bavarian capital by Oct. 3, the AP reports. By tradition, beer mugs remained dry until Munich mayor Dieter Reiter opened the festival by tapping the first keg at noon Saturday. Large bags have been banned, all visitors must go through security controls, and the grounds will be monitored by multiple video cameras.

Police fear the event could be targeted by a "lone wolf" like the Nice truck attacker—or the right-wing extremist who killed 12 with an Oktoberfest bomb in 1980. Security fears may have contributed to a 15% fall in hotel bookings year-on-year, but authorities say they are not going to let the party be ruined. "We are looking forward to a wonderful and peaceful festival," chief organizer Josef Schmid told Germany's DPA news agency, per Deutsche Welle. "If we give in to the fears, then it will become impossible to carry out large public events in the future," says parade organizer Karl-Heinz Knoll. (Read more Oktoberfest stories.)

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