National Geographic has named the top ten Oktoberfests around the world — and Brisbane’s made the list!
According to National Geographic’s book, Four Seasons of Travel, these are the top ten Oktoberfests around the world.
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is the largest Bavarian Festival in North America, with the greatest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Canada. The festival which extends over two weekends in October, features parades, fashion shows, live entertainment, German foods, markets and heaps more.
Fun Fact: In 2010, Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest held a massive chicken dance in hope to encourage Ellen DeGeneres to attend their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, after she featured a photo of the parade on her show. Unfortunately she couldn’t attend the event.
For more info visit www.oktoberfest.ca
Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in America, with more 500,000 people attending every year. Held in September along Fifth Street in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio , the festival showcases the rich German heritage of Southwest Ohio with German style music, food and beer. Popular dishes at the event include sauerkraut balls, jumbo pickles, strudel, Limburger cheese, soft pretzels and of course bratwurst.
Fun fact: In 1994, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati actually broke a world record and was put in the Guinness World Book of Records 1995-97 editions for the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, with over 48,000 participants.
For more info visit www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com
Also held in Ohio is Columbus Oktoberfest, which celebrated its 50th year this year. Over the years Columbus Oktoberfest has been held in many different locations and was even cancelled for several years from 2009 due to financial issues. But since partnering with Ohio’s Expo Centre the event has become more popular than ever, offering attendees an array of German foods, dancing, music, activities and events across three buildings.
Fun fact: Columbus Oktoberfest holds a Stone Toss event every year, where women have to throw a 75-pound stone and men a 138-pound stone as far as they can, and the farthest throw wins!
For more info visit www.columbusoktoberfest.com
Held in the picturesque city of Leavenworth in Washington, Oktoberfest Leavenworth features live entertainment, Bavarian dancing, activities and competitions, beer and authentic German cuisine. Leavenworth is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and features a traditional Bavarian style village which makes for an incredible backdrop to the event
Fun Fact: Oktoberfest Leavenworth originally started in 1998 as a small one venue, one weekend event, attracting about 400 people. Since then, the festival has become hugely popular attracting over 10,000 people worldwide, and expanding to 4 venues of event.
For more info visit www.leavenworthoktoberfest.com
Colonia Tovar, Venezuela
This northern Venezuelan community is often called the ‘Germany of the Caribbean’, with its unlikely Bavarian architecture and pride. Its Oktoberfest features an array of German games and competitions, German cuisine and locally produced craft beers.
Fun Fact: Each year the festival holds a trunk-sawing competition, where participants have to use a saw or axe to cut a log in the shortest time. Surprisingly most of its participants are senior women. Women power!
For more info visit www.venezuelatuya.com/centro/coloniatovar.htm
Oktoberfest Blumenau is Latin America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration. Try beers from the local breweries in the Biergarten, among the pavilions of Blumenau’s expansive German Village Park reminiscent of Munich own 14-tent grounds. The festival features traditional dancing, food, activities and competitions.
Fun Fact: Each year Oktoberfest Blumenau holds the National Competition for Makers Chope, a competition where participants have to drink a one meter draft beer (600ml) in shortest time without dribbling wins. So drivers can compete in the competition, the beer used is actually non-alcohol.
For more info visit www.oktoberfestblumenau.com.br
Each Year, Indian brewery Kingfisher throws and annual multistage music festival at Jayamahal palace to celebrate the Great Indian Oktoberfest. More than 20,000 people attend the event each year, with three days packed with flea markets, live entertainment, food and beer and games.
Fun Fact: Each year the festival hosts a head banging competition and screaming competition. Weird!
For more info visit www.kingfisherworld.com/tgiof
Hong Kong, China
Hong Kong’s German Bierfest has been going for more than 20 years now! Located at the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel overlooking Victoria Harbour, this German/Asian tradition sees festival goers participating in crazy games like milking the cow, pumping the balloon and various drinking games.
Fun Fact: Only 200 pints of the exclusive Lowenbrau Oktoberfestbier is served each night, so beer lovers have to get in quick to avoid missing out!
For more info www.gbfhk.com
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Each year in October, Dubai salutes Bavaria by decking out an array of venues in German tinsel. Usually a daylong party is held in the Dubai Sports city complex, while resorts around the area hold their own fun-filled events. German dancing, singing, food and beer are just some of the things you can expect across the different events. .
Fun Fact: Each year the Sports City Centre holds bull-riding contest as part of the German celebrations. Yee-hah!
For more info www.visitdubai.com/en
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Port Elizabeth is located on the sunshine coast of South Africa, in the Eastern Cape. Each year the town’s German club hosts its own Oktoberfest, featuring German cuisine and beer, live entertainment including traditional music and dancing, a disco, market stalls and heaps of kids activities.
Fun Fact: The festival features a 50 metre long bar, which is the longest bar in South Africa.
For more info visit www.germanclub.co.za
Oktoberfest Brisbane brings together all lovers of German fun, food and culture over two weekends in October. Whether you’re a beard lover, foodie, fashionista or sports fan, there is literally something for everyone! The event features heaps of German inspired foods and drinks, as well as a range of competitions and activities like the Bavarian Strongmen comp, Beardmeister comp, Miss Oktoberfest and Torwandschiessen (kicking game).
Fun Fact: Each year Oktoberfest Brisbane holds the Pork Knuckle of Destiny, auctioning off the first pork knuckle of the festival (and other prizes) with all proceeds going to charity. This year the highest bid was $10,000! Wow!
The second weekend of Oktoberfest Brisbane will be held at Brisbane Showgrounds this 16 to 18 October. For more info visit www.oktoberfestbrisbane.com.au!
Have you been to any other Oktoberfests? Is there any they’ve missed?