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Sep 17, 2011 10:28 AM by Kirsten Bennett

Beer flows as Germany kicks off Oktoberfest

BERLIN (AP) - The mayor of Munich has tapped the first keg to kick off the 178th traditional German folk festival Oktoberfest.

With only two deft blows of his hammer and a cry of "O'zapft is" - "It's Tapped," Mayor Christian Ude inserted the first tap into the first keg as the festival opened its doors to the public Saturday

More than six million guests from around the world are expected to descend on the beer tents of Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest over the next 17 days.

Last year's visitors consumed some 7.1 million 2-pint mugs of beer. This year a mug, called "Mass" in German, tipped the euro9 mark, selling at euro9.20 ($12.66).

German authorities have increased the security around the fairgrounds this year, although they say no concrete threat exists.

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