Oktoberfest Began as a Marriage Feast
The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810, as a wedding feast honouring the union of Bavarian King Ludwig I and Maria Theresia of Saxonia. The royal shindig took place at the Theresienwiese (Theresia meadow) where it continues to be held today.
By 1819, festive horse races were replaced by beer carts and a new edict: that the party return each fall. Since then, the festivities have been cancelled only two dozen times—once in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian war, twice due to cholera epidemics, and later in the hyperinflation of the 1920s and in the years during and after the two world wars.