Oktoberfest 2017: The world's biggest beer festival in numbers and pictures

Organisers estimate that Oktoberfest's seven million visitors will drink a similar number of litres of beer.

11 boozy stats about OktoberfestReuters

Oktoberfest 2017, which kicked off in Munich over the weekend, is the world's biggest beer festival. Organisers estimate that around seven million people will pass through the gates before the festival ends on 3 October. They are expected to drink a similar number of litres of beer – which seems a little low to us.

Waitresses carry mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in MunichMichaela Rehle/Reuters

But it's not just about beer. They will also drink 95,000 litres of wine and 42,000 litres of sparkling wine, and eat their way through more than half a million chickens, 280,000 sausages, 75,000 pork shanks, 44,000 kilograms of fish, 116 oxen and 57 calves. (The organisers didn't give figures for any vegetarian options.)

The price of beer has gone up slightly this year, with one litre, served in a mug known as a Maß, costing around €10.90 (£9.62). The Oktoberfest beers are made by Munich's six breweries and are all around 6%. They are served in 14 large tents (up to 11,000 people) and 21 "small" tents (around 2,000).

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Visitors celebrate in the Hacker-Pschorr brewery's Himmel der Bayern (Bavarian heaven) beer tentJoerg Koch/Getty Images
Visitors reach for the first mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in MunichMichael Dalder/Reuters
A visitor downs a mug of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in MunichMichaela Rehle/Reuters
Two women engage in a beer drinking contest in the Hacker Pschorr tent on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalPhilipp Guelland/Getty Images
A waitress carries 12 one-litre mugs of beer at Munich's annual beer festivalChristof Stache/AFP
Visitors cheer a man who downed a mug full of beer after the opening of the 184th OktoberfestChristof Stache/AFP
Two men wearing lederhosen walk hand in hand on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalJoerg Koch/Getty Images
Visitors enjoy the atmosphere (and the beer) on the opening day of the 184th OktoberfestMichaela Rehle/Reuters
Visitors enjoy a swing ride during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in MunichMichael Dalder/Reuters
People go on a ride at the Oktoberfest fair ground in MunichChristof Stache/AFP
A waitress carries beer in the traditional mug (known locally as Mass) after the official opening of the 184th OktoberfestChristof Stache/AFP
Paramedics care for a drunken man during the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalJoerg Koch/Getty Images
A visitor sleeps off the beer outside one of the tents during the first day of OktoberfestJoerg Koch/Getty Images

Extra security measures are in place this year, including entrance checks, a fence around the fairgrounds, huge flowerpots preventing vehicles from entering, and a ban on visitors bringing in bags and backpacks of more than a three-litre volume. Similar precautions were taken in 2016 for the first time in the festival's history after a series of violent attacks in southern Germany. More CCTV cameras have been installed along with a new loudspeaker system to guide visitors off the festival's grounds if necessary.

But neither security concerns nor rainy weather deterred the crowds on the first day – attendance numbers are expected to be significantly higher than last year.

Police officers stand guard as visitors rush into the festival area on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalJoerg Koch/Getty Images

Thousands of people wearing traditional costume marched through the streets of Munich on Sunday (18 September) in an annual parade celebrating Bavarian traditions. Although it's not compulsory, most tourists dress up for Oktoberfest, with men wearing lederhosen with a checkered shirt, high woolly socks and a hat with a feather, sometimes known as a Tyrolean or Alpine hat, and women in dirndl dresses with a lace-up front and apron. Traditionally if the apron bow is tied to the left, it means she is single, but on the right means she's taken (middle might mean she's a virgin or simply undecided).

A child wearing Bavarian clothing sleeps in a miniature carriage during the traditional Costume and Riflemen's ProcessionJoerg Koch/Getty Images
People dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the annual parade on day two of the festivalMichael Dalder/Reuters
Young men in lederhosen perform a local dance in the Tradition beer tent on the second day of Oktoberfest 2017Philipp Guelland/Getty Images
A visitor carries a gingerbread heart decorated with 'Greetings from Oktoberfest' on the second day of the festivalPhilipp Guelland/Getty Images
A child takes part in the traditional costume and riflemen parade on the second day of the 184th Oktoberfest beer festivalChristof Stache/AFP
Performers in traditional Bavarian costumes take part in the traditional Costume and Riflemen's Procession on day two of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalJoerg Koch/Getty Images
Performers in traditional Bavarian costumes march on Munich's Ludwigstrasse during the traditional Costume and Riflemen's ProcessionJoerg Koch/Getty Images
A man wearing traditional Bavarian clothes poses at the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalJoerg Koch/Getty Images
Performers take part in the traditional costume and riflemen parade in MunichChristof Stache/AFP

The festival has its origins in the wedding of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen in 1810. The public celebrations went on for five days and were so popular they have been repeated every October, but were later brought forward to start in September when the temperatures in Bavaria are usually warmer. This year's Oktoberfest runs from 16 September to 3 October.

The Theresienwiese fairground at dawn on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festival in MunichPhilipp Guelland/Getty Images
Revellers are reflected in a puddle on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festivalPhilipp Guelland/Getty Images
Chair swings spin round at dawn in the Theresienwiese fairground on the first day of the 2017 Oktoberfest beer festPhilipp Guelland/Getty Images

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