Christian Ude, Honorary Citizen of the City of Munich and former Mayor of Munich, taps the first barrel at the tapping in the Schillerbräu with a mouth and nose protector in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Sept.19, 2020. Despite the cancellation of the Wiesn due to Corona, events and actions take place in the state capital. (Felix Hörhager/dpa via AP)

Coronavirus-wary Bavarians beat off toned-down Oktoberfest

BERLIN — Oktoberfest parties got underway Saturday in Munich using the conventional tapping of a keg and the shout of”O’zapft is!” — but this year’s festival is extremely unconventional and highly controlled as a result of coronavirus concerns.

The official Oktoberfest was canceled, therefore there are no enormous tents filled with individuals or countless stands selling meals. Rather, 50 of those southern German town’s beer halls and other institutions are hosting their very own, smaller parties that follow instructions on mask sporting, social distancing, and other limitations.

Former Mayor Christian Ude got the party started, hammering a tap into a 20 liter (5 gallons) keg — a tenth of the magnitude of the Oktoberfest standard — in the Schillerbraeu beer hallway while dressed in Bavarian lederhosen leather trousers and sporting a protective mask.

Meantime, police patrolled the normal festival grounds to be certain no spontaneous celebrations broke out.

The reduction of Oktoberfest is a massive hit for its Bavarian town, which saw 6.3 million guests flooding in last year to the festival’s most 186th year. They had been served 7.3 million gallons (roughly 15.5 million pints) of beer within 16 days and swallowed 124 oxen, one of the other conventional foods.

This year’s toned-down parties run through Oct. 4.