Oktoberfest is actually a 16 day volksfest, held annually predominantly in Bavaria, Germany. Although often interpreted as a weekend festival of drinking German beers and eating wurst, Oktoberfest celebrations are varied and ideal for families.
Now observed throughout the world, Oktoberfest activities can be found in several countries. The following list provides some of the best available.
It’d be foolish not to highlight the home country destination of Oktoberfest in this list. Germany really does know how to celebrate this event – they created it after all. The Germans go all out for this yearly event and their celebrations include fancy dress, stalls, party tents, food and fairground rides.
Celebrities feature heavily throughout the festival and TV personalities, chefs and singers are often placed in specific areas for guests to meet and take photographs with.
Canada embraces Oktoberfest as if it were their own. The country is home to the biggest Oktoberfest outside of Germany as Ontario plays host to magnificent celebrations. Attracting multiple hundreds of thousands of guests each year, a Canadian Oktoberfest is an economic goldmine for the country.
That’s not to say that visitors don’t have the most fantastic time, but with thousands upon thousands of sausages being eaten and copious amounts of beer being bought, Ontario’s Oktoberfest is a wonderful boost to several local businesses.
Hong Kong adopts Oktoberfest celebrations each year by embracing all that is German. This celebration is much more low key than others, with only 200 steins of beer sold each night, but the focus on German food, music and entertainment in a country so far away is a superb sight to behold.
Australia, who are renowned for serving a good beer and BBQ, also give a home to Oktoberfest celebrations each year. Brisbane is arguably the largest of the Australian interpretations, attracting more than 30,000 people each year.
The authenticity of the celebration is secured by the fact the two Australian-German families run the event and aim to provide a welcoming and intimate environment. With beer brewed especially for the event, Brisbane’s Oktoberfest is a real treat for tourists and locals alike.
Also South Australia saw many German settlers start a new life in the 1800s even giving part of the region its name, the Barossa Valley, meaning there are strong traditions still held in those wine regions of Australia. In fact many Ozzy wines you may know have German roots, Wolf Blass, Jacob's Creek, Seppeltsfield, Peter Lehmann ring any bells?
There is even a German town called Hahndorf, which looks like a traditional German town in the middle of Oz. German pubs showcase the black, red and gold flag and the Bavarian white and light blue and serve huge portions of sausages, knuckles, sauerkraut, potatoes and of course an amass of beer!
It is safe to say that the Oktoberfest has certainly engrained itself on British Society. Going hand-in-hand with German Christmas Markets, most UK towns and cities will have some sort of Oktoberfest event going on, replicating mini Bavarias all over the UK. The Brits without a shadow of a doubt love a beer and when it comes in 2 litre glass Steins then everyone is happy.
Add to that some umpa umpa music, plenty of sausage and the Brits will have a good old sing-song. The big cities are generally the big partakers with weekend long events being held in allocated spaces in city centres, creating lots of passing trade, busy spots and general jollyness.
US of A
In 1990, by way of cementing better relations with Germany and boosting the local economy, Michigan introduced Oktoberfest to their calendar. 7 years after beginning the annual event, the German parliament sanctioned the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest – the first non-German area to receive the honour. With the usual offerings of food, drinks, entertainment and music, the Frankenmuth Oktoberfest also offers unique inclusions such as dachshund racing.
Now sponsored by German businesses, this Oktoberfest has an authenticity and fun factor that is as closely linked to Germany as is possible.