Oktoberfest 2012: Opening Weekend [95 High Quality Photos]

Oktoberfest kicked off on September 22nd and an estimated 80 million beers are expected to be downed over the course of the 16-day festival that wraps up October 7th.

Considered to be the world’s largest fair, nearly 6 million people from all over the world attend the festival. The events are held on a 75 acre fairground called the “Wiesn” that can accommodate hundreds of thousands of people at a time.

On Saturday, Munich’s mayor tapped the first keg to kick off the 16-day Oktoberfest, known for its oompah music and traditional costumes. With only two blows of his hammer and a cry of “O’zapft is” — “It’s Tapped” — Mayor Christian Ude inserted the tap into the first keg, opening the 179th Oktoberfest to the cheering of thousands who were waiting to be served their first beer.

Only beer brewed within the city limits of Munich, and conforming to strict specifications, is allowed to be sold at the Oktoberfest. The special brand of Oktoberfest Beer is a registered trademark.

Although heavy rains soaked the fairground revelers didn’t seem to mind. If you can’t make it out to this year’s festival we’ve got you covered. Here are photos from the first weekend of the world’s largest beer festival. Check back next Monday as we post a second batch of Oktoberfest photos.