Germany's world-famous Oktoberfest kicked off Saturday. Munich mayor Dieter Reiter opened the city's annual Oktoberfest with the traditional call of "Ozapft is" to the delight of thousands who had managed to get a place in the main beer tent Saturday.
This year the job falls to new incumbent Dieter Reiter, who'll be hoping to breach the 200-litre (53-gallon) cask with as few swings as possible.
Other Oktoberfest customs call for the wearing of classic southern Bavarian costumes -- a dirndl, or low-cut blouse with a laced-up bodice and aproned full skirt for women, and the lederhosen leather shorts with embroidered braces for men.
Thousands of serving staff carry millions of "Mass" (litre-sized) glasses of beer from one of six historic Munich breweries, to punters seated at long tables in dozens of tents at the Wiesn fairgrounds.
Last year more than six million visitors drank 6.7 million Mass glasses during the whole festival run.
The price of the beer always touches off a debate and in some tents was this year due to creep over the 10-euro mark for the first time -- to 10.10 euros ($13).
Foreign tourists, led by Italians and Americans, flock to Munich to enjoy the Oktoberfest merriment but the festival remains largely a Bavarian event with more than 70 percent of visitors hailing from the southern state.
And it also draws German celebrities and stars of the TV screen and soccer field who are often photographed, glass of beer in their hand.
Some 6 million people are expected to visit what is billed as the world's biggest beer party that runs through October 5.