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Munich: Calendar of Events

For details on the following observances, consult the Munich Tourist Board at Sendlinger Strasse 1 at the Hauptbahnhof (tel. 089/233-96-500).

February

Fasching (Carnival). Pre-Lenten revelry characterizes this weeks-long bash, with a whirl of colorful parades and masked balls. Special events are staged at the Viktualienmarkt. The celebration culminates on Fasching Sunday and Shrove Tuesday. Festivities last 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the dates of the Lenten season. For specifics, contact the Munich Tourist Bureau.

Munich Fashion Week. The latest and often most elegant parades of fashion are staged throughout the week at various venues strewn across the city. Mid-February.

March

Starkbierzeit. The "strong beer season" provides serious beer drinkers with a fresh crop to tide them over until Oktoberfest. Just 1 pint of one of the dense brews churned out specifically for the season (beginning the third Fri of Lent and lasting 2 weeks) ought to satiate most buzz seekers. Beers with the suffix "-ator" (Salvator, for example) were created to be consumed at Lent. This dalliance from the strict fasting rules of Lent was approved by the Pope long ago: When he tasted what Mɒnchners had been imbibing, he found it unpleasant enough to think that anyone who drank it would not be violating the fast. (What he didn't realize was that the beer had traveled a considerable distance to get to him, which is why it was bad!) The tradition continues today.

April & May

Auer Dult. An old Munich tradition, Auer Dult is a colorful 8-day flea market fair that occurs three times a year. Prize antiques and vintage junk await the keenest eyes and the most disciplined bargain hunters. Merchants set up shop on the Mariahilfplatz on the last Saturday in April (Maidult), the end of July (Jakobidult), and the end of October (Herbst Dult).

Corpus Christi Street Processions. Street parades with dressed-up horses, a carried statue symbolizing Christ, girls dressed in white, a canopy, priests, and other functionaries are seen all around the region on the Thursday following the eighth Sunday after Easter; the exact date changes annually.

June

Munich Film Festival. This festival isn't as popular as the February International Film Festival in Berlin, but it draws a serious audience. Late June.

Tollwood. This summer music festival, originated by environmentalists, honors the free spirit of jazz, blues, and rock from the third week in June through the first week of July in Olympiapark. Ask at the Munich Tourist Office.

July

Opera Festival and Munich Summer of Music. The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra's Summer of Music and the Bavarian State Opera Festival highlight the work of Munich's prodigal son, Wagner, and other masters including Mozart, Orff, Mahler, and Strauss. Contact the Munich Tourist Office for details. All month.

Christopher Street Day. The big day for the estimated 100,000 gay men and lesbians who live in the city attracts people from across Bavaria. This fun-filled parade, with its outrageous costumes, is one of the largest such events in Europe. It is named after the street in New York's Greenwich Village that was the site of the 1960s Stonewall Riots, said to have launched the gay liberation movement. Mid-July.

August

Olympiapark Sommerfest. This well-attended summer festival near Coubertin Platz is an outdoor musical scene that ranges from classical music to rock and jazz, along with productions staged in the park's open-air theater. Admission is free. For details, call tel. 089/30-67-0; www.olympiapark-muenchen.de.

September

Oktoberfest. Germany's most famous beer festival takes place mostly in September, despite the name. Hotels are packed, and the beer and revelry flow on the Theresienwiese, where gigantic tents that can hold as many as 6,000 beer drinkers are sponsored by local breweries. It lasts from the middle of September to the first Sunday in October.

November

Christkindlmarkt. Every evening at 5:30pm, classic Christmas music bellows throughout the Christmas market on seasonally lit Marienplatz. You may even catch a glimpse of the real St. Nick. Traditionally runs from the end of November to Christmas Eve.

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