The Munich Oktoberfest is the world's biggest beer festival and largest fair. This year, Oktoberfest 2010, will be no exception. There will be around six million thirsty visitors to descending on the capital of Bavaria where they can enjoy all the sights and tastes of this great city. Here is a guide as to what to expect from this most famous of festivals.

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It's not just litres of beer that get consumed at the fair, there will also be approximately 300,000 pork sausages, 600,000 roast chickens and 80 oxen on the menu that should help you soak up all that liquid refreshment. In case you are wondering, there will be around seven million litres of beer consumed and 100,000 litres of wine. The Oktoberfest is very much about tradition. So you will only find beer from Munich's six breweries being sold in the large tents and you won't find any nasty chemical additives in these brews either. The German Purity Law, decreed in 1516, prevents any tampering with the brewing process so that you can enjoy the product as it's supposed to be. This might not mean you will avoid the hangover altogether but at least it will be a purer one.

The Oktoberfest is about much more than just beer drinking. There are lots of traditional German amusements to enjoy like flea circuses and crossbow competitions. Tuesday is Family Day, with discounts for the fairground. Look out for the marching bands and traditional riflemen in the grand Costume & Riflemen's Parade on the first Sunday of the festival.

The Oktoberfest has grown in size and popularity since it began in 1810. It began as a public wedding celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. Despite the name the Munich Oktoberfest usually starts in September, Today the Munich festival traditionally takes place during the sixteen days up to and including the first Sunday in October with Oktoberfest 2010 starting on Saturday, 18th September.

The opening ceremonies for the Munich Oktoberfest 2010 will commence in the Schottenhamel Tent at midday on Saturday 18th September, when the Mayor will conduct the Official Tapping of the Keg. It is advisable to get an early start for the ceremony as it's usually very well attended.

The entry in the tents of Oktoberfest is free but seating is reserved so if you haven't booked you will have to stand while you imbibe. There are more than 30 tents at the Oktoberfest but the best tents tend to be the Small and Medium ones. Get there in the morning otherwise you will have to queue in line to get in the tents.

Try to find a tent to suit your style. The backpacker hordes and Japanese tour groups make a beeline for the Hofbräu tent which can be quite raucous. If you want to sample something a little more refined check out the Augustiner, Ochsenbraterei (ox-roasting) or Fischer-Vroni tents.