Oktoberfest is still several months away, but as fears of contagion in large gatherings continue, Germany’s famous beer festival has officially been canceled for this year.
Munich’s Oktoberfest, which typically attracts over six million people over two weeks, was scheduled to take place between September 19 and October 4. Maintaining the event, which takes place in large, crowded tents throughout the city, was deemed too unsafe, as social distancing would be impossible.
Markus Söder, premier of Bavaria, said, “This is not a normal year and it is unfortunately a year without the Oktoberfest. It hurts. It is a huge shame.”
Even though some parts of Germany have already started relaxing lockdown restrictions, large events and gatherings are still banned until August 31, with the possibility of an extension into the fall.
The festival, which has been running since 1810, has been canceled three times before, due to two cholera epidemics and World War II.
Munich pastor Rainer Maria Schiessler, however, is remaining optimistic. “Munich will survive,” he said. “We hope we can make up for this next year, with even more passion and joy.”