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The largest single event taking place during Oktoberfest time is the Trachten- und Schützenzug on the first Sunday. More than 9000 Trachtler and riflemen are marching from Maximiliansbrücke to the Theresienwiese. The parade starts at 9:45 a.m. and is lead by the Münchner Kindl (Munich child), Munich’s personification in the shape of a young woman, actually depicting the monk of the city arms. More than two hours and a march of five and a half kilometers later, it enters Oktoberfest at Esperantoplatz, where the participating groups are separated from their horses, so that the human participants are able to take their seats in the beer tents.

The parade comprises an interesting and well balanced mix of bands, costume and riflemen groups as well as the landlords’ carriages and the magnificent horse-drawn brewery drays. For decades also the tents’ bands participated in the parade. Sadly, as it is the case with many traditions, the last tent to still honor this one, is the Augustiner-Festhalle.

Not only local groups, but also Munich’s Mayor, the Prime Minister and groups from Austria, Italy and Switzerland regularly participate. Other international participators in 2013 were from Poland, Croatia, Greece, Czech Republic and Turkey. In 2014 even the exotic Gauverband Nordamerika is going to take part.

Festring München, the organizer of the event, constructs 14 stands alongside of the parade’s route. Seats can be purchased via München Ticket for 35 Euros. As horses are separated from the parade before entering the Theresienwiese, you should not watch it directly at Oktoberfest.