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Oktoberfest Spirit Spreads to Australia

  • September 22nd, 2008
  • Posted by Grace Tobin

“O’zapft is!” (It’s tapped!)genimage11.jpg

Munich Mayor Christian Ude tapped the first keg of beer on Saturday in commencement of the 175th Oktoberfest at Theresienwiese.

It has spawned little Oktoberfests in sympathy around the globe; as a case in point, two weekends of chicken-dancing and cold beers at Brisbane, as Grace Tobin observed for EUAustralia.

Gloomy skies did not diminish the spirits of thousands of Germans and travelers at the first day of the world’s largest beer festival — in Munich.

Oktoberfest was officially opened on Saturday (20.9.08), to run until October 5.genimage21.jpg

The first day saw thousands of visitors dressed in the unofficial festival dress code of dirndl and lederhosen.

Beer was priced at €8 to €8.30 per litre (A$16.3-16.8; dcerates.com),40 cents more than last year, but no deterrent to enthusiasm.

Over one million people were expected for the opening day, numerous beer tents being closed closed during the first morning because they were already overcrowded.

Another six-million were later to surge onto the vast site, Theresienwiese — “Therese’s meadows”, named after Therese of Saxony, wife of Germany’s King Ludwig I.

The Oktoberfest tradition began almost 200 years ago to honour the wedding of that royal couple; an event that rolled on for one full week.

The festival was later moved forward to allow for, usually, better weather conditions; begetting the strange habit of celebrating October, in September.

AUSTRALIANS OUT TO SHARE SOME “CULTURE” – BAVARIA-STYLE

Not so large in scale, the Queensland tribute to Oktoberfest proper saw genimage.jpg

a great piling of large pretzels, gingerbread hearts, cooked meats and beer in steins.
Mick Schmidt, the organiser, said he hoped the festival would become a big local tradition in its own right.

“The Oktoberfest is so much more than just beer in steins. The food is fantastic, the music is great…we have looked after all the little details to make it authentic”, he told local press.

The festival’s main Bierzelt (beer tent), fitted with wooden tables and benches, was packed with hundreds of visitors enjoying an oompah band.

Dozens queued under the Moreton Bay figs at the beer garden restaurant; others in Bavarian green hats danced on tables; small boys, and some not-so-small, performing the ‘Chicken Dance’ over and again.

The event Down Under extends over two weekends.

Reference:

Oktoberfest Brisbane 2008, http://oktoberfestbrisbane.com.au/index.html

Oktoberfest, official site, http://www.oktoberfest.de/en/10/

Ganz Muenchen (online newspaper) http://www.ganz-muenchen.de/oktoberfest/termine/anstich/infos.html

Expatica (German press)
http://www.expatica.com/de/life_in/feature/Bottoms-up-in-Bavaria_-.html

Rory Gibson, “Bigger Brissie Oktoberfest”, The Courier Mail, Brisbane, 16.9.08.

Picture:
Oktoberfest South, 20.9.08

 

 

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