Oktoberfest in Munich kicks off 183rd year

Tourists from around the world flock to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest.

What began as a royal wedding celebration has turned into a massive, beer-fueled festival

The 183rd edition of Oktoberfest, Munich's famous annual folk and beer festival, runs from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3 and is expected to attract several million visitors from all over the world.

The original Oktoberfest was held in October 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding.

But nowadays it's all about the food, beer and fun. Though it's actually been more than 200 years since the original Oktoberfest, the celebration's been cancelled a few dozen times for reasons including cholera and heavy post-war inflation.

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The first Sunday of each Oktoberfest is celebrated with a parade.

About 9,500 people take part in the parade each year, wearing traditional costumes from Bavaria and beyond.

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(Michaela Rehle/Reuters)
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Oktoberfest patrons can get a little rowdy.

Visitors stack beer mugs on top of each other in a festival tent at the Oktoberfest grounds on Sept. 17, 2016. Those mugs are a hot commodity. In 2012, security guards recovered 226,000 smuggled steins heading out of the tents with would-be thieves. 

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A visitor drinks beer during the opening day of Oktoberfest. Patrons of the festival have been known to overindulge. Locals call tourists passed out on Oktoberfest grounds Bierleichen, which translates into 'beer corpses.' 

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The honour of tapping the 1st beer barrel of the festivities goes to the mayor

Munich's Mayor Dieter Reiter signals to spectators that the first beer barrel is tapped during the official opening of 2016's Oktoberfest.

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Visitors wait to get inside a tent during the opening day of the 183rd Oktoberfest. 

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Visitors stand in queue on the opening day of Oktoberfest in Munich. The largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany is actually in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., running from Oct. 7-15 this year.

(Michaela Rehle/Reuters)

With files from Reuters, EPA