Oktoberfest kicks off for the 184th round with heightened security

The 184th annual edition of Oktoberfest started on Saturday, September 16, with a horse-and-carriage parade, carnival rides, oompah bands and beer-swigging revelry -- as tradition dictates, of course.

With a cry of "It's tapped!" Munich's mayor Dieter Reiter cracked the first keg and poured a round, the classic official opening of the world's biggest beer festival.

Millions of visitors from around the world are expected to descend on the Bavarian capital over the next 18 days. Organizers are hoping for around seven million, which would be a much better turnout than the 5.6 million last year.

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184th annual edition of Oktoberfest
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184th annual edition of Oktoberfest
Visitors cheer with beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
A waitress carries mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
A visitor drinks beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
A waiter carries mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
A waitress carries plates with grilled chicken during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Visitors ride a ferris wheel during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Visitors ride a carousel during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Visitors rest in a meadow close to the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
German police lead away a visitor from the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
People dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
People dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Children dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
People dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
A man dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes takes part in the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
People dressed in traditional Bavarian clothes take part in the Oktoberfest parade in Munich, Germany, September 17, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Visitors ride a swing ride during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Waitresses carry mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Bavarian state Premier Horst Seehofer (L) and Munich mayor Dieter Reiter pose during the opening ceremony of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Visitors reach for the first mugs of beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Visitors cheer with beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Visitors cheer with beer during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
A waiter pours beer to a mug during the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
A visitor looks at a booth selling traditional gingerbread hearts inside the Oktoberfest area at the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. The texts read "Greetings from Oktoberfest" and "For my big love". REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
Waitresses clean the tables inside the Oktoberfest area at the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Visitors queue as they wait for the security to let them enter the Oktoberfest area at the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
Visitors walk inside the Oktoberfest area at the opening day of the 184th Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, September 16, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
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Rainy weather certainly didn't stop the first eager attendees, with crowds turning up for entry well before the 1200 local (1000 GMT) opening.

Extra security measures were in place for the second year in a row, including entrance checks, a fence around the fairgrounds and ban on visitors bringing in bags and backpacks of more than a three-litre volume. Such precautions were taken for the first time in the festival's history last year after security concerns arose from a series of violent attacks in southern Germany.

For 2017, police and organizers have also enhanced video surveillance and added a new PA system for making announcements.

But for Oktoberfest visitors, from born-and-bred Bavarians to tourists, it's partying as usual.

The 184th edition of the Munich Oktoberfest ends on October 3.

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