Oktoberfest parties - the festival doesn't just
happen in Munich, ya'know!
If you think Oktoberfest is confined to Munich, you’ve got a lot to learn.
The famous festival that started with a wedding is now to be found around the globe and celebrated by millions.
The locations vary, not everyone likes sauerkraut with their sausages and the beer isn’t even always German.
But at an Oktoberfest event some things are the same no matter where you go.
It’s all about having a good time. It’s about feeling content, cozy and a little bit crocked. It’s about making friends with the people sitting across from you over simple but honest food and drink.
And the Germans even have a word to sum all that up: it's called Gemütlichkeit.
JOIN IN: Can’t make it to a beer festival in Germany? Take a look around, there might an Oktoberfest party just over the fence.
Many Oktoberfest events outside Germany were started by German emigrants, so it comes as no surprise to find that the biggest parties are in the “New World”.
As Germans moved en masse to countries like Canada, the United States and Brazil in the 19th and 20th centuries they took their traditions with them.
For those from Bavaria, this meant recreating the Oktoberfest.
The crown for “biggest Oktoberfest outside Germany” goes to the Brazilian city of Blumenau.
Their party attracts over 1,000,000 revellers each year.
A few North American Oktoberfest parties also claim to be the biggest, among them is Canada’s Kitchener – Waterloo Oktoberfest (700,000+ visitors). In the United States there’s Cincinnati (500,000+), and Denver (450,000+).
Many North American Oktoberfest events are run by local German clubs as well as community volunteers, and profits often go to charities.
I’ve written in-depth reviews of a few North American Oktoberfest parties, complete with photos and practical info.
▪ Oktoberfest Kitchener - Waterloo - North America's biggest Oktoberfest takes place in the Canadian twin-cities of Kitchener - Waterloo.
Oktoberfest parties in the US include:
▪ Tempe Oktoberfest
▪ Minster Oktoberfest
▪ Big Bear Oktoberfest
▪ Hickory Oktoberfest
In other necks of the woods
In other parts of the world Oktoberfest parties can be found in cities as diverse as Hong Kong, Bangalore, Dublin, Melbourne, Ho Chi Minh City and even, incredibly, in a Palestinian mountain village called Taybeh.
The Augsburg Plärrer kicks off with a parade and performances in the city's main street.
Among the better-known are Augsburg’s Plärrer (for two weeks around Easter and again in August/September), the Nuremburg Spring Festival (April/May) and the Bergkirchweih in Erlangen in May/June.
There are beer festivals outside Bavaria too, most notably the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart in September/October.
So what’s the best beer festival in Germany? Well, for my money it’s still the Munich Oktoberfest, but I reckon you could tour a few others just to make sure…