Oktoberfest gone global

Oktoberfest has just finished and the figures are in, therefore it is exactly that time of the year, when we try to comprehend just how well Germans can party and how hard they hit it. This year more than six millions people travelled to Munich to embrace the Bavarian spirit and enjoy the all-day-long beer drinking.

This year Oktoberfest (often simply called “Wiesn”) celebrated its 180th Birthday since the first event, which was in essence a celebration of a royal wedding in 1810. Since then a lot of things have changed, but some stayed the same. For example this year a vegetarian option was introduced to the Oktoberfest menu. Another interesting development is the traditional clothing obsession, which recently has peaked. Only 10 years ago, the waitresses were the only ones wearing the traditional dirndls (Bavarian peasant-inspired, corseted dressed with white blouses and colored aprons), whereas now the traditions are embraced and tourists from all over the world dawn their dirndls and lederhosen on (the equivalent for the men). The festival has also taken a more environmentally-friendly approach with all the bottles and rubbish getting recycled – in the best German tradition.

So for those, who missed the Oktoberfest this year and is debating if it was truly worth it, here are some interesting (and confusing) facts.

First of all, the sheer size of the event is grandiose. In the course of two weeks (from the 21st of September till the 6th of October) a crazy amount of beer and food was consumed and we have the exact figures right here: 6.7 million liters beer, more than 500,000 roast chickens, 330,000 sausages, 115,000 pork knuckles, 114 oxen and 58 calves. And of course, one can imagine the profit that was made – just the beer alone (priced at 9.80 Euros per litre) brought the festival hefty 89 millions. An interesting observation is that all that money is divided just between the 6 breweries, that are allowed to participate and situated within the city limits: Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, Loewenbraeu, Paulaner, Augustier and Hofbraeu Muenchen.

The fairground this year covered a total space of 42 acres – approximately 32 football fields and consisted of 14 massive beer tents with a combined seating capacity of more than 114,000 people at any given time.

So are you really still in doubt if it is worth the time and expense to travel to Munich for this amazing event? Then try it out on a smaller scale in your local proximity, as Oktoberfest has gone truly national and global. Nowadays one can find celebrations all over world, in places like London, Ohio, Sydney, Brazil – or even Palestine. Actually, the second-largest Oktoberfest takes place in the American city with the biggest German population: Cincinnati, Ohio. And all across the US, hundreds of Oktoberfest celebrations, both large and small, testify to the significant contribution made by German migrants over several hundred years. London’s Bavarian Beerhouse is open to customers all year round, but puts on special celebrations to coincide with Oktoberfest. In Australia’s two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, a number of Oktoberfest celebrations are held. But Blumenau, Brazil, founded by German settlers, plays host to the largest Oktoberfest in South America and one of the largest in the world – more than 500,000 people attending each year. Finally, a small village in Palestine’s West Bank might seem an unlikely location, but that is exactly what has happened in the Christian village of Taybeh for the past 8 years.

Pick your closest destination and join in the celebrations! What a shame we have to wait a whole year for the next bunch of fun!

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