Oktoberfest Celebrations Around the World
By: FUN Monster
Oktoberfest lasts for two weeks each year and ends on the first Sunday in October. The first-ever festival occurred back in 1810 and was held to celebrate the wedding of the future King Louis I to his fiancé Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The first Oktoberfest ended with a horse race known as Therese's Green or Theresienwiese. By 1818, elements of agriculture fairs and booths serving beverages and food were to be found at Oktoberfest.
For decades Oktoberfest has been a very big deal in Munich, Germany. Plywood beer halls with bandstands and interior balconies have replaced the simple booths of the 1800s. Each brewery located in Munich builds one of these plywood places capable of seating up to 6,000 patrons. Each year Munich's current mayor taps the first keg of Oktoberfest inside the celebration's oldest beer tent, the Schottenhamel. From that point, around 2 million gallons of beer will be consumed over the next two weeks. The breweries also sponsor floats in the many parades that take place during the time.
Although beer plays a very large part in the events, there are many other activities for people to enjoy. Many are family-friendly. They include carnival rides, concerts, dancing, and games. Around six million people visit Theresienwiese , the grounds in Munich where the festival is held each year, named of course for the horse race held at the first-ever Oktoberfest. Eating has long been an important part of Germany's Oktoberfest celebrations. Traditional dishes include Weisswurst, a roasted pork knuckle dish known as schweinshaxe, and large pretzels known as brezen.
Brazil has a large population of German immigrants and people of German ancestry. Blumenau is known as Little Germany because about one-third of the city's populace is of German descent. The city was founded by Hermann Bruno Otto Blumenau, a German philosopher, in 1850. The city features Bavarian-style architecture and began hosting an annual celebration of Oktoberfest in 1984. It's the largest Oktoberfest festival in the Americas. and perhaps the biggest in the world other than the original in Munich. Around 700,000 people pour into the city each for the festival. Along with beer halls, other attractions include German food, people in folk costumes, shooting matches known as Schützenvereine, and traditional German folk music and dancing. The National Competition of Chopp in Meter Drinkers is held each year. During the competition, each person must drink a meter of beer without taking the tulip from their mouth. A winner is declared each night during the competition, and on the last night, the man and woman who finished their meters in the fastest time overall are declared the winners.
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Kitchener and Waterloo are twin cities in Ontario. Their Oktoberfest dates back to 1967 when it was decided the cities would join together to host the festival as a way to celebrate Canada's centennial. It's the largest Oktoberfest celebration in Canada. 700,000 people visit the region each year to attend. Although there are many beer-based traditions at this Oktoberfest, the most well-known attraction is the Thanksgiving Day Parade which is shown on television throughout Canada and even in parts of the United States. More than 100,000 people regularly line the parade route to watch the floats go by. The celebration's mascot is Onkel Hans, a figure who wears traditional Bavarian wear like lederhosen and a felt hat.
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Since its founding in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati has become the largest celebration of the festival in the United States. Around half a million people visit the city during the September weekend when the festival takes place. The world record for the Chicken Dance was set during the festival back in 1994 when almost 50,000 people took part in the dance. A lot of food gets consumed during this one weekend, including more than 23,000 pretzels and almost 25,000 potato pancakes. Concerts are usually held during the weekend as well.
Australia's largest celebration of the festival turns the Brisbane Showgrounds into a little piece of Germany. During the last two weekends in October, Brisbane emphasizes Bavarian folk dress. For the men, it's suggested they consider Lederhosen with sturdy shoes and an Alpine hat. Women are encouraged to consider dirndl style dresses. An amusement park is built to keep the entire family entertained, but of course, beer tents offer tastes of German-style food and drink.
China's Qingdao International Beer Festival has a different name, but traditions like beer tents and food stalls selling dishes like bratwurst while Bavarian folk music is played in the background prove that Oktoberfest is Oktoberfest no matter what it is called. The annual event is hosted by the Qingdao Municipal Government along with various national ministries. The celebration lasts for sixteen days and begins in August. Unlike other Oktoberfests this one also showcases performances by the Peking Opera.
Villa General Belgrano, Argentina
Argentina has long-standing ties to Germany and its people. Villa General Belgrano, located in the northern part of the country, features many examples of Bavarian architecture. The Oktoberfest held there each year lasts for eleven days and the tens of thousands of visitors who pour into the region enjoy the Beer Garden that was built especially for the annual celebration. German food and beer are available throughout the festival.
Beers brewed in Japan are served alongside more traditional ones from Germany at this Oktoberfest. The two-week celebration is held near the city's port and offers a mix of adult fun and family-friendly entertainment. Dancing is a major part of the festivities!
Johannesburg, South Africa
The largest celebration of Oktoberfest in South Africa is held in Johannesburg. A Bavarian-influenced beer hall located at the Montecasino entertainment complex, capable of seating 4,000 visitors, is the centerpiece of the festival which lasts for two weekends in October. Local breweries provide the beer, and traditional German-style food is also offered.
Hong Kong is home to the eleven-day-long Marco Polo German Bierfest each October. The Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel hosts the festival. German rock bands are typically featured. The crowds make the area around the hotel come alive each night. It's a cosmopolitan but thoroughly enjoyable take on the classic Oktoberfest.