Marching band musicians in traditional Bavarian dress and parade floats - laden with supplies - filled the route of the Munich beer festival's opening parade.
Acrobats walking on their hands were among the performers who wowed revellers during the Oktoberfest processions.
Organisers are hoping to top the figure of nearly 1bn euros (£697m) that was generated for the southern German city last year by the extravaganza.
There were strict security checks at entry points to the event, which is expected to attract six million people.
The 16 days of eye-popping festivities are held at Theresienwiese fairground.
Over the course of the event, an estimated six million litres (10.5m pints) of beer are expected to be drunk.
Drinkers perch on long wooden tables inside the 14 huge beer tents that have been set up.
Even those not old enough to buy alcohol dressed up and joined in the fun.
Some could easily find it little more than a blur.