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The famous Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich has returned after a two-year hiatus due to the covid pandemic.

As tradition dictates, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter kicked off the festivities by hammering the cinnamon stick into the first keg, pouring beer and handing the first pint to Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder, world news agencies reported.

"I'm glad we can finally celebrate together," Söder said at the opening ceremony.

"Many are asking themselves: "Is it possible or not?

Is it good now?" I just want to say one thing: We have left behind 2-3 difficult years, nobody knows exactly what this winter will be like, but we have to enjoy life," he added.

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The festival will continue until October 3.

No restrictive health measures are foreseen, including wearing a mask is not mandatory.

This year, beer is more expensive than it was at previous events.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to an increase in the prices of raw materials and energy, which forced brewers to raise the prices of the drink.

Oktoberfest is normally visited by over 5 million people, a third of whom are foreigners.

Its economic benefits are estimated at 1.2 billion euros.

Long queues in Munich for Oktoberfest

Germans are among the biggest beer consumers in Europe.

An average of 84 liters of beer was consumed per person in 2021.

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In 2020, the event was canceled for the first time since World War II due to the coronavirus.

It did not take place the following year either.

The previous canceled editions were in 1854 and 1873 because of cholera epidemics, notes BTA.

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