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In Pictures: Oktoberfest 2011 - The world's largest beer festival kicks off in Munich, Germany

The mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg to kick off the 178th world-famous German folk festival Oktoberfest.

Click 'More Pictures' to launch gallery

With only two strokes of his hammer and a cry of "O'zapft is" - "It's Tapped," Mayor Christian Ude inserted a tap into the first keg as the festival opened its doors to the public on Saturday.

The festival is a huge tourist draw for the German city. More than six million guests from around the world are expected to descend on the beer tents of Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest over the next 17 days in the sprawling 77-acre (31-hectare) Theresienwiese grounds.

Last year's visitors consumed some 7.1 million one-litre mugs of beer.

This year the price of a mug, called a "Mass" in German, topped the €9 mark, selling for €9.20.

German authorities have increased the security around the fairgrounds this year, although they say no concrete threat exists.

According to Oktoberfest's official Web site, the festival began on October 12, 1810 to honor the marriage between Bavarian Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

The festival was moved to September to take advantage of the warmer weather outside, hence Oktoberfest in September.

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