01/07/2022

1811-1818 Munich DE – Central Landwirtschaft Feyer (Central Agricultural Festival) – the original Oktoberfest

Forward to 1817, Nizhny Novgorod RS – Makaryev Fair
Forward to next Munich entry – 1854
Back to 1806, Paris FR – Exposition Publique des Produits de l’Industrie française (4th)
Back to Getting Noticed – Back to bobdenton.com home

1811, 1818 Munich

Name:Central Landwirtschaft Feyer (Central Agricultural Festival)Oktoberfest
Dates:12-17 October 1811 (run until 1818)
Days:Six
Venue:Theresienwiese, SW Munich, it was where Ludwig and Therese married and named after her. It is locally shortened to ‘Wiesn’ – 42 hectares (104 acres)
Theme:To promote and improve Bavarian agricultural. Bavaria was inextricably linked with crops, livestock, forestry and farm products.
Exhibitors:no data
Awards:Awards were given for the best entrants and for gricultural good husbandry
Visitors:No data
Legacy:Oktoberfest

Following the fall of Napoléon in 1815 the Congress of Vienna created the Deutscher Bund, the German Confederation, a collection of thirty-nine sovereign states. These were to be permanently governed by the Emperor of Austria. This was agreed at the expense of Prussian influence and led to ongoing friction between the Habsburg and Hohenzollern groups. Between 1811-1850 there were thirteen events organised in the German/Austrian territories.

Bavaria was primarily agricultural until well after WWII. The region’s wealth was inextricably linked with crops, livestock, forestry and farm products, thus agricultral fairs had been around a very long time.

In 1810 the agricultural fair coincided with the royal wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The inhabitants of Munich were invited to
celebrate the occasion on fields just before the city gates. The National Guard mounted horse races to close the 1810 event on 17 October, a hill (now the Theresienhohe) was used to seat 40,000 spectators.

Munich brochure

When in 1811 the (third class) National Guard could not afford to pay by themselves for the cost of a repetition of the horse race the operators came to an agreement that in future the Landwirtschaftliche Verein (Agricultural Association) would take on the organisation of the event. In 1811, the Agricultural Fair was organised by the Agricultural Society of Bavaria on the site of the wedding, it was co-located with a Horse Fair and the whole was named the Central Agricultural Festival.

It held displays of livestock and agricultural equipment, awarding prizes for best entrants, good husbandry and excellence in breeding. Apart from horse races, there were cattle markets and the presentation of appliances, products and livestock took place.

Up to 1818, the association organised the events. The party and entertainment aspects are attributed as the very first Oktoberfest, the Agricultural Festival and Oktoberfest progressively becoming synonymous.

1845 Festival Programme

In 1818 a carousel and swings were added and the funfair grew year-on-year. In 1819 the event was taken
over by the City of Munich. By 1896 stalls became tents and halls.

This was originally a commercial enterprise, but by 1819 it became the responsibility of the city of Munich. However, the Landwirtschaftliche Verein was still responsible for the exhibitions and awards at the Central Agricultural Fair happening in parallel. Up to c1845, the association produced two publications for each Oktoberfest. One was printed in advance (at least until 1836) included tenders for the horse races and the shooting contests. A second report was published after the festival with general observations (weather conditions, atmosphere or visits by the ruling family), a detailed list of all the prizes awarded. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Bavarian State Library) still holds these final reports with a few gaps between 1820 and 1845, important sources about the Oktoberfest. (Source: bavarikon.de)

A modern Oktoberfest

The Oktoberfest is of course still extant, though recently held more often in September and is popularly known locally as the ‘Wiesn’, a contraction of the venue’s name Theresa’s Fields, or Theresienwiese. It is considered a key component of Bavarian culture and describes itself as the world’s largest ‘Volksfest’, a beer festival and funfair.

Forward to 1817, Nizhny Novgorod RS – Makaryev Fair
Forward to next Munich entry – 1854
Back to 1806, Paris FR – Exposition Publique des Produits de l’Industrie française (4th)
Back to Getting Noticed – Back to bobdenton.com home

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.