The Oktoberfest becomes more and more popular from year to year. Today, you’ll find many different versions of the original Munich festival all over the world. Here is some information about the Oktoberfest and some of its most remarkable ‘spin-offs’:
Oktoberfest, or: „Wiesn“
Location: Munich, Germany
Visitors per year: 6,5 million
History: The original Oktoberfest dates back to the year 1810 and is opened for the 182nd time this year. For 15 days, people from all over the world are joining ‘the original’ in Munich after the opening and traditional tapping ceremony with the saying: “O’zapft is!” (“It’s tapped!”).
International Beer Festival
Location: Qingdao, China
Visitors per year: 3-4 million
History: The first International Beer Festival took place in 1991. The festival takes place once a year in August for 2 weeks. It’s the largest beer festival in Asia with more than 200 beer brands and breweries with a typical Bavarian atmosphere.
Location: Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Visitors per year: over 700,000
History: Since 1969, the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest has become the largest Bavarian festival in North America. The founders of this festival seized the opportunity of this Bavarian tradition to celebrate the Canadian-German heritage together with the local community. Each year, thousands of visitors celebrate in a typical Bavarian atmosphere.
Location: Blumenau, Brazil
Visitors per year: 700,000
History: Since more than 20 years the Oktoberfest Blumenau takes place at the “Deutsch Village Park” for 18 days. It’s the second largest folk festival in Brazil, and with 700,000 visitors, one of the biggest Oktoberfests in the world: You’d be amazed at the wide range of beer, sauerkraut and Bavarian music.
Name: America‘s Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
Visitors per year: 500,000
History: When the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati was founded in 1976, it was intended as a reminder of the German heritage in the Cincinnati region. Today, it is the biggest Oktoberfest in the US, attracting more than half a million people per year. Over the course of one weekend, Cincinnati celebrates its German heritage with German folk music and food and beer specialities.
|Marco Polo Bierfest||
Location: Hong Kong
Visitors per year: more than 1,500
History: First held in 1991, the celebration in Hong Kong offers all German Oktoberfest-traditions like a Bavarian band, Bavarian games, beer, pretzels and sausage plates.
Outback Oktoberfest Jundah
Location: Judah, Queensland, Australia
Visitors per year: about 300
History: This festival might be the smallest Oktoberfest in the world: there are only 68 inhabitants in the Outback town of Judah. Since 2010, it has been a custom to rename all town’s streets with German names for one day. The idea for this particular Oktoberfest was originally born during a citizens’ meeting, and every inhabitant has been contributing to the event’s success over the years.
- Pork knuckle, traditionally served with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes
- Pretzel, sprinkled with salt
- Weisswurst, served with sweet mustard
- Candied almonds, warm and crunchy
You would like to organise your own Oktoberfest? Then have a look at our recipe tips below.
You only have to carry 29 beer mugs at the same time – and you are the new world record holder. At the Oktoberfest, you will find a selection of different beers: from „Festbier“, especially brewed for the Oktoberfest, to „Weißbier“, available in different varieties like “light” or “dark”, “bright” or “cloudy”. The rule is pretty strict: Only beer from Munich breweries may be served on the “Wiesn”.
There are over 30 beer tents, but you just need to know about the 14 mega-sized tents. These 14 main tents have huge dimensions with seating for 4,000–10,000 people plus outdoor beer gardens holding additional thousands of people. And you might be surprised to see so many people dancing on the benches.
“Lederhosn für de Buam” (= “leather pants for the boys”) – this is a must-have for the tradition- and fashion-conscious man. “Dirndl für de Madl” (= “dirndl dress for the girls”) – take care to which side you tie the bow. Front right = in a relationship or married, front left = single and looking for a lover, centre front = still a virgin, and centre back = widowed.
When? The traditional costume parade takes place on every first Oktoberfest Sunday and usually starts at 10 a.m.
Where? The parade starts at Maximilianstraße and ends at the Odeonsplatz. What to expect? About 9,500 members take part in the parade and present a huge variety of traditional costumes, habits and dance programmes.
Why? In 1835, the parade was first held in honour of the 25th wedding anniversary of Oktoberfest founders King Ludwig I (find out more here) and his wife Therese. Since 1950, it has become a regular event in Munich.
How about some Schuhplattler? This group dance is characterised by hand claps on the thighs and shoes. This dance was first mentioned in the year 1050 by a monk of Tegernsee Abbey in the knight poem “Ruodlieb”, which describes postures and movements similar to those of the Schuhplatter.
In honour of the wedding of King Ludwig of Bavaria and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, a big horse race was organised. The spectacle took place on the Theresienwiese, which was later called “Wiesn“. It was such a joyous event that it was decided to repeat the festival in the following year. Due to the weather conditions, it was later decided to hold the Oktoberfest already in September.
The „Bavaria“, a statue and female symbol figure of the Free State of Bavaria supposed to watch over the Oktoberfest, was unveiled. In the same year, at the behest of King Ludwig I, the annual parade started, which is now an important part of the tradition.
Since 1950, the Oktoberfest has been traditionally opened with 12 gun salutes. The tapping of the first beer barrel has also become a tradition – every year at exactly 12 a.m. by the mayor of Munich with the exclamation: “O‘zapft is!” In the years after 1950, the traditional costumes became more and more popular, made up of alpine dairymen’s hats, leather trousers for men and dirndl dresses for women.
Over the last decades, the Oktoberfest has been attracting millions of visitors every year, which has made it the biggest folk festival in the world. More and more guests are coming from other countries in Europe and from all over the world, mainly Italy, the US, Japan and Australia. Every year, new world records are set on the Wiesn: the amount of consumed beer and chicken, for example. When visiting the Oktoberfest, you can experience a fun Bavarian folk festival that holds many surprises!
You would like to organize your own Oktoberfest with traditional dishes – then we have just the right recipes for you:
with Wiener sausages and mustard
with apple sauerkraut
with potato and cucumber salad
with horseradish cream
with sauerkraut and bread dumplings
with kassler smoked ham and cheese
with cheese, fried onions and pickles
with classic ‚Obazda‘