Munich Oktoberfest Smoking Ban Brews Frustration

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The traditional Oktoberfest Parade of horse-drawn carriages, brass bands and members of Bavarian gun clubs dressed in traditional costumes, drew thousands of spectators in Munich on Sunday.

Some 8,600 people in colorful traditional costumes, musicians and riders made their way to the world's largest beer festival, which kicked off a day earlier.

For the first time in its 200-year-old history, Oktoberfest organizers banned smoking inside the 14 large beer tents, enraging some smokers while others shrugged off the new law.

A local regular at the Oktoberfest, Sepp Klotz, says the lack of smoke-clouds inside the tents make the smell of so many people sweating, very noticeable.

[Sepp Klotz, Oktoberfest Regular, Smoker from Munich]:
"It's always been a part of Bavarian and Munich coziness to be able to smoke inside the beer tents. Now there is this problem of having to walk outside. I think it totally sucks."

Another smoker from Bavaria, Sara Wildbrett, says the new law will soon lose its effect.

[Sara Wildbrett, Smoker from Bavaria]:
"Sooner or later I am going to smoke inside anyway ... Once no one notices anymore."

In July, Bavaria voters had cast ballots in favor of a state-wide ban on smoking that went into effect in August.

Although an exception was made for Oktoberfest until 2011, organizers went ahead with a test-run of the smoking ban during this year's event, which runs from September 18th to October 4th.

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