Turning coronavirus page, Oktoberfest kicks off after two-year hiatus

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MUNICH (Reuters) - The annual Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, kicked off on Saturday for the first time since 2019, marking the end of a two-year hiatus as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands sporting "Lederhosen", or leather trousers - a typical mainstay of Bavarian culture - flocked to the event that usually attracts around 6 million visitors to Munich a year, including tourist from around the world.

"It's a bit of an anxious moment walking through the whole crowd," one visitor said. "Once we get sitting down and having a beer we'll be alright."

Revellers sit at long communal tables to swig beer, eat sausages, pretzel or pork knuckle, and listen to oompah bands.

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter said earlier this year that the Oktoberfest, held from Sept. 17 to Oct. 3, would take place without any COVID-19 restrictions.

(Reporting by Ayhan Uyanik und Christine Uyanik; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Alex Richardson)