Oktoberfest: originally a horse race
One rule still applies in the beer tents at Oktoberfest: the customer is king. Yet we have a civil officer to thank for the annual get-together of approximately six million visitors in such a cozy setting. Andreas Michael Dall’Armi, Member of the Bavarian National Guard, had the idea of celebrating a wedding a little differently for a change. Prince Regent Ludwig of Bavaria, the later King Ludwig I, and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen were to be honored with a huge horse race. The financier and cavalry major shared his idea with King Max I Joseph of Bavaria who was impressed from the get-go. The couple were married on 12 October 1810 with the festivities taking place on 17 October on the grounds of Theresienwiese, to be later named after the bride, and featuring the exact horse race suggested. And even though there weren’t any beer tents or fairground rides at the time, it marked the birth of Oktoberfest. In 1824, Munich city awarded Andreas Michael Dall’Armi the first gold citizens medal for ‘inventing’ Oktoberfest. He is buried at Alter Südfriedhof cemetery and a street has been named after him in the neighborhood of Neuhausen-Nymphenburg.