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Beer flows as Oktoberfest kicks off

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Mayor of Munich Christian Ude taps the first beer barrel during the official opening of Oktoberfest (AP)

Mayor of Munich Christian Ude taps the first beer barrel during the official opening of Oktoberfest (AP)

Young people enjoy the opening ceremony of the famous Bavarian Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany (AP)

Young people enjoy the opening ceremony of the famous Bavarian Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, southern Germany (AP)

People wait for the opening of the famous Oktoberfest in front of a beer tent during heavy rain in Munich, southern Germany (AP)

People wait for the opening of the famous Oktoberfest in front of a beer tent during heavy rain in Munich, southern Germany (AP)

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Mayor of Munich Christian Ude taps the first beer barrel during the official opening of Oktoberfest (AP)

The mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg of beer to kick off the 179th traditional German folk festival Oktoberfest.

With only two blows of his hammer and a cry of "O'zapft is" - "It's tapped" - Mayor Christian Ude inserted the first tap into the first keg as the festival opened on Saturday morning.

More than six million guests from around the world are expected to descend on the beer tents of Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest until October 7.

Last year's visitors consumed almost 8 million two-pint mugs of beer.

This year a mug, called a Mass in German, sells at up to 9.50 euro (£7.60).

German authorities are keeping security tight around the fairgrounds which accommodate hundreds of thousands of people at a time, although, they say, no concrete threat exists.

PA


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