American Oktoberfests are inspired by the annual celebration in Munich, which was first held for six days in mid-October 1810 to honor the marriage of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The celebration became an annual event and grew in duration.
Because it gets chilly in Germany in October, the festival eventually was moved forward on the calendar to take advantage of the milder September weather.
For years the Munich Oktoberfest ran for 16 days, starting in September and ending the first Sunday in October.
The schedule was tweaked, however, after East and West Germany reunited in 1994. Now, if the first Sunday falls on Oct. 1 or 2, the festival is extended until German Unity Day on Oct. 3.
— Mary Beth Breckenridge