Our main Oktoberfest celebrations at the Phoenix Club in Anaheim and Old World in Huntington Beach are large, long affairs, but sometimes, we Americans forget the immensity of the mothership in Munich. Der Spiegel reported yesterday on the weird stuff lost and found during the two-week festival--dentures, electric wheelchairs, a live grasshopper (?), along with the usual hodgepodge of keys, cell phones and wallets. But what struck my attention wasn't what was reported lost, but what was confiscated by authorities from would-be robbers: liter-sized beer mugs. 226,000 of them. A quarter-million. At around $13, that amounts to more than $2.9 million in merchandise.
"The theft of the heavy 1-liter glasses taken as illicit souvenirs surged," Der Spiegel reported, "with security staff at the exits managing to retrieve an impressive total of 226,000 mugs hidden in revellers' backpacks, up from 130,000 last year." One wonders how many mugs actually made it past security.
The other great stat gleaned from Oktoberfest: Of the reported brawls, only 58 brawls involved mugs as the weapon of choice. And, yes, Der Spiegel pointed out, the Germans "have a single word to describe the phenomenon with Teutonic precision, Masskrugschlägerei," which I'll let Dave decipher. . . .