Entry of the Hosts & Breweries
The Einzug der Wiesnwirte und Brauereien (Entry of the Hosts and Breweries) festive prelude signals the official start of the Oktoberfest is the arrival of the Wiesnwirte and breweries. This folklore procession, which has regularly taken place since 1950, has turned into an eminent Oktoberfest event and is broadcast live worldwide by German channel 1. About 9,000 participants walk from Maximilianstraße through downtown Munich to the festival grounds and present a colorful variety of traditional attire, customs and folk dances, which is traditionally led by the Münchner Kindl.
Around 10:45 a.m. the current Münchner Kindl starts her first official Oktoberfest act. Seated on her horse she leads the parade starting from Josephspitalstraße – on to the Wiesn via Sonnen-, Schwanthaler-, Hermann-Lingg-Straße and Bavariaring, finally arriving at the Theresienwiese. Behind her follows the Munich Mayor and the Wiesn hosts in brightly decorated carriages . The smartly dressed waitresses in dirndls also made their way to the sounds of the halls music bands, the showmen, the market traders and the highly polished carriages of the Munich breweries. Of course always present on board the breweries horse drawn carriages is the most important part of Oktoberfest, the drink of the Wiesn, beer stored in wooden barrels – festively decorated with flowers and garlands.
The parade comprises the magnificently decorated horse-drawn drays of the six large Munich breweries, the 16 carriages of the landlords of the larger tents, showmen, the landlords of the smaller tents, the landlords of the Oide Wiesn, brass bands and Trachtler. Since 1935 the parade has been lead by the Münchner Kindl (Munich child), originally it was a boy on a pony, today a young woman on horseback. Even more important is a person in the following carriage: The mayor of Munich, sitting in the carriage of the Schottenhamel tent, once arriving on the Theresienwiese the Mayor is dropped off at the Schottenhamel marquee. Armed with a mallet and a tap, he taps the first beer keg at the Wiesn and proudly yells the well-known “O’zapft is” at the thirsty crowd. That’s it: the official starting signal for the Wiesn and the official permission for the Oktoberfest landlords to open the taps in their tents. Cheers!
In 1887 the legendary Hans Steyrer, also known as the Bavarian Hercules who missed no opportunity to attract attention to his businesses, had the idea of moving from his restaurant in the Tegernseer Landstraße to his Oktoberfest tent together with his staff, the first supply of beer and of course his brass band in festive carriages. As he did not care about a license for his undertaking, police stopped him long before reaching the Theresienwiese. Today, the parade is even lead by the police riding team.
Despite the initial disapproval of the authorities, Steyrer succeeded in attracting the interest of both the public and also his colleagues, who began themselves imitating his idea. But not before 1925, the Löwen, Pschorr, and Thomas breweries orchestrated the first combined opening parade – still without official authorization. The first landlord to actually register the parade was Augustiner host Hans Schattenhofer. Therefore, its starting point since 1931 is the Herzog-Spital-Straße, where Schattenhofer’s restaurant was located. Sadly, today most hosts forgot about the tradition of moving together with their staff to Oktoberfest and prefer filling their staff carriage with free beer enthusiasts also known as friends of the family.
Sources Referenced: München Betriebs-GmbH & Co. KG - Mit and Wiesnkini Project