The famous Munich Oktoberfest has its roots in 1810 when it was held for the first time as part of the celebrations for a royal wedding. Nowadays, it is still one of the biggest folk festivals around the world – it is all about getting together with family and friends, drinking beer and having a good and jolly time.
The annual Oktoberfest has found countless imitators across the globe, often brought to other countries by German immigrants and expatriates who don’t want to miss out on their beloved tradition. We have compiled a list of the best Oktoberfest celebrations worldwide – besides Munich.
Canadian Oktoberfest (Ontario)
There are four different Oktoberfests held in Canada this year, namely Calgary Oktoberfest and Edmonton Oktoberfest in Alberta as well as Toronto Oktoberfest and Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in Ontario, with the latter being the most popular.
An estimated 700,000 visitors come to Kitchener-Waterloo each year, making it the second largest Oktoberfest after Munich. Inspired by the original German Oktoberfest, it is billed as Canada's Greatest Bavarian Festival with family-friendly activities, including blunt-tipped archery showdowns, dance competitions and art exhibitions.
United States Oktoberfest (Cincinnati, Ohio)
First held in 1976, Zinzinnati Oktoberfest is America’s largest Oktoberfest with more than 500,000 people attending each year. Taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio, the festival celebrates the rich German heritage with German music, food and homemade brewed beer.
Zinzinnati Oktoberfest is also well known for its signature events, such as Chicken Dance and Running of the Wiener.
South American Oktoberfest (Brazil)
Founded in 1984 by a small band of German immigrants, the festival is commonly known as The Oktoberfest of Blumenau. Guests can indulge in various types of beer crafted by local breweries. The Oktoberfest of Blumenau ranks among the biggest beer celebrations alongside the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest in Ontario.
This year, the festival lasts for three weeks, from 5 to 23 October. Approximately 700,000 are expected to join the festivities, sporting traditional Bavarian clothing and engaging in folk dances. This particular Oktoberfest is also known for its special events, such as Queen of the Oktoberfest and National Competition of Chopp in Meter Drinkers.
Asian Oktoberfest (Hong Kong)
There are plenty of beer festivals in Asia like in China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and also Indonesia, but the biggest of them all is the Hong Kong Oktoberfest that is commonly known as the Marco Polo German Bierfest.
Taking place at Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel with a spectacular view of Victoria Harbour, the festival has been going strong over the past 20 years, regularly attracting large beer-drinking crowds that keep the German Oktoberfest tradition alive.
Australian Oktoberfest (Brisbane)
German-Australian Festival Directors Kim and Boris Zoulek’s personal version of Munich’s famous Oktoberfest has transformed the Brisbane Showgrounds into a mini Bavaria, complete with delicious food, world-famous beers and a line-up of traditional entertainment. The festival imports its handcrafted brews from the old Tucher Brewery in Bavaria.
As the largest beer festival in Australia, Brisbane Oktoberfest is very family-friendly and offers a variety of both German and Australian cuisine and a traditional Oktoberpole, which is raised in front of the town hall. It also actively engages the community by supporting a charity project for Youngcare Australia