There will be over 5,000 German sausages, over 250 kg of sauerkraut and over 10,000 liters of Germany’s finest beers on site at Harmonie German Club’s Oktoberfest – but not a local craft beer in sight.
After a two-year hiatus, Canberra’s response to the famous ‘volksfest’ is set to breathe some pep into spring for two days of rides, entertainment, food and of course beer.
Club CEO Paul Berger says the integrity of the beer offering is a source of pride, especially the festival’s official beer, Hofbräu.
“Hofbräu is the king of beer halls in Munich,” he says.
“For us to introduce this beer is a real stunner, not many places in Australia can get this imported beer on tap.”
The 14 beers on offer – from “Märzenbier” (March beer) to “Dunkel” (lager) and from “Hefferveisen” (wheat beer) to “Helles” (pale lager) – are imported.
But while authentic German beers form the unsurprising centerpiece, this isn’t the all-purpose beer.
Although reduced by three days, Paul says the same action from previous Oktoberfest events is crammed into two high-energy days.
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Rooted in a carnival atmosphere, guests will be able to enjoy free rides, a plethora of merchandise and plenty of entertainment throughout the weekend, including live German music and the professional and community “Schuhplattler” ( traditional Bavarian dance).
Competitions include mug grab, keg roll, strongman, “Fingerhakeln” (finger wrestling with a leather strap), and Miss Oktoberfest.
Traditional German cuisine includes sausages (kranskys and bratwursts), “Kartoffelpuffer” (potato pancakes) served with applesauce or sour cream and chives, apple strudel, black forest and pretzels.
“For the first year, we are also offering a public favorite in Munich, the ‘Wiesnhendl’ or meadow chicken, which our friends from the Portuguese association will put together,” says Paul.
“There will also be roast pork or beef, which you can get in rolls or in a meal, or ‘Currywurst’. These are minced sausages in a curry sauce served with bread or chips – a popular Bavarian street food.
Paul says that Saturday is the “feast day”.
“We want people to wear their lederhosen and enjoy Oktoberfest for all it is,” he says.
“It’s the main event, then Sunday is Funday for families. Children get free entry and with free rides throughout the weekend, it’s a really good value festival.
“We also have 35 market stalls that create a family-friendly market day hut with a German theme.”
Buses will shuttle revelers from multiple points across Canberra and as far away as Bungendore to deliver an expected 7,000 over the two days.
Although La Nina threatens events all along Australia’s east coast this year, organizers have gone to great lengths to ensure this one isn’t a disaster.
The main event takes place under a 65m by 45m festival tent with a seating capacity of 2,500.
“The event takes place rain, hail or shine,” says Paul.
The Harmonie German Club has been organizing the Oktoberfest since 1967.
The event has moved beyond its original venue on club grounds and has since taken place at EPIC and Thoroughbred Park.
It was held at Queanbeyan Showgrounds for the first time in 2017, a move that bolstered its reputation for authenticity.
“The feedback we got from our German customers was that it was most like the real deal,” says Paul.
“Oktoberfest in Germany is traditionally held on ‘weisen’, which translates to meadow or field. So, stepping out of a closed shed and into the “weisen” with tents, the atmosphere there is what you can expect from Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest takes place on October 29 and 30 at the Queanbeyan Showgrounds. Adult tickets start from $16.84 and children are free on Sundays. Visit the Harmonie German Club website for more information or buy tickets here.
Original article published by Dione David on Riotact.