It’s official: National Geographic Traveler has ranked Brisbane’s very own German Festival one of the Top 10 Oktoberfests celebrated around the world! Our authentic “spread of entertainment” rates highly, underscored by the exacting attention to all the finest details of the event which has been a hallmark of the founding families’ efforts over the years. Without wanting to blow our own Flugelhorn (that’s the band’s fun job!), here’s 10 good reasons why.
10. The entertainment
Outdoors: truly something for all ages, from the carnival rides (for little kids and not-so-little ‘kids’!) to the gleaming line-up of German automotive excellence that is Autofest, and the ever-popular Torwandschiessen – the ‘Go for Goal’ German ball-kicking game with a specially-made goal wall unique in Australia. Indoors, it’s a veritable feast with yodelling echoing across Bowen Hills and cowbell-ringing and fancy footwork enchanting the audience. Ladies are in the running to be crowned Miss Oktoberfest, and gentlemen have their moment of tonsorial glory in the annual Beardmeister awards. The feats-of-strength contest is open to all would-be Bavarians – at least, those who haven’t worn themselves out on the dancefloor, trying to keep up with the boys in the band!
9. The ambience
Darkness descends above the fairy-lights strung between the trees in the Biergarten on a balmy evening at the end of a sunny Spring day at the festival. The Marktplatz is abuzz with conversation and catch-ups, and the whoops and yells from the carnival carry across the crowd. From inside the brightly-glowing main tent come the sounds of more revelry – musical instruments being blown to their limits and thousands of feet stomping the dancefloor, accompanied by waves of infectious laughter. Guests weave their way through the authentic Munich bistro tables with plates and trays of delicious food, mingling at the many stalls and tents.
8. The iconic tent
Dwarfing everything is the enormous Oktoberfest Brisbane tent – a mountain of blue-and-white fabric and bunting, complete with chandeliers, suspended 3m-wide wreaths, and decorations accurate down to the finest detail. (Make sure you look up when you’re at the bar – those exquisite lamp-shades are modelled on those found in traditional German restaurants, but were designed and made exclusively for Oktoberfest Brisbane.) The Alpine panorama across the end wall of the tent was manufactured in, and imported from, Germany!
7. The German connections
On the other side of the Marktplatz, inside the German connections tent, you will find an eclectic collection of merchandise, souvenirs, books and clothing to stimulate your ‘inner German’. From fabulous Schnucki outfits (if they haven’t sold out, you might find something to buy and slip into!) to educational reading and cuckoo clocks, there’s a fascinating array of products and services on offer. Here is where you can engage with other visitors’ inner Germans too, with a range of demonstrations, shows and activities – just check the Oktoberfest Brisbane program!
6. The little corner of Bavaria
On one side of the dancefloor in the main tent, the intricate woodwork and timber panelling denotes the Bayrisches Eck – the Bavarian Corner which hosts the festival’s pre-booked VIP tables. The raised seating area matches that found in Munich, and the tableware itself could not be more authentic – it’s all imported from Germany especially for our festival, along with the customised Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts) which are such a signature Oktoberfest Brisbane touch (if you need a hand translating any of the iced-lettering messages, you’re sure to find some willing helpers!). Guests of the Bavarian Corner enjoy a special Brettl (traditional foodplatter) of hot and cold delicacies, breads, pretzels and nibbles.
5. The food – natürlich!
Okay then – now we get to the food (well, you need to work up an appetite, no?). Those mouthwatering aromas which have been tantalising your senses since you walked through the gates need to be located, sampled and devoured. What you will find are typical, authentic, German folk festival foods on offer by stallholders who are universally of German or Austrian ancestry, each with a culinary speciality that is just awaiting your discovery (or your re-acquaintance, if you have fond memories of last year!). Cakes, pastries and waistline-enhancing confectionery are part of it – naturlich! –just as much as the wholesome, filling staples such as meat, vegetables, smallgoods, sausages, potatoes and salads.
4. The beverages – Prost!
How could we not need a drink after such a journey! Our good friends at the 340-year-old Tucher Brewery in Nürnberg make a lager and wheat beer each year just for us – these are not available anywhere else in the world (not even in Germany!). Our Dunkel (dark) beer is hand-crafted on the Gold Coast by a master brewer trained in Bavaria. That Oktoberfest Brisbane stein you may be drinking from was specially designed and manufactured in Australia to original German specifications. This year we’re proud to introduce you to the tastes of three wines from Brogsitter, their grapes sourced from the river valleys of the Rhine, Moselle and Saar. Of course, the festival is about much, much more than beer and wine – there’s a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages on offer too – Prost!
3. The education
While you’re ‘embracing your inner German’ you may find you want to communicate with another – just look around and take in the scene, sights and details: you are (if only for a day) immersed in a very German experience. Pick up some language tips from the other guests or staff, perhaps find an interesting text or guidebook in the German connections tent … or talk to your new language tutor about some lessons – the possibilities are amazing! And our annual ‘Oktoberfest for Teens’ event turns on an absorbing day’s activities and events for German-language students from across Queensland – this year we’re expecting more than 2,200 students and teachers from 55 schools (and we may even have a very special guest from Germany)!
2. The all-ages appeal
Oktoberfest Brisbane is a German festival for visitors, guests and friends of all ages – just as it is for folk and family events across Germany, from Flensburg in the north to Berchtesgaden in the south. That’s part of the timeless appeal of such a traditional event, when everyone from the town or village turned out wearing their ‘festive best’ to come together and celebrate good times. (Some might say there’s a particular age when Lederhosen shouldn’t be worn, but – hey! – who are we to say? If they fit and you feel good, then come along and get into the festival spirit!)
1. The families
Let’s complete the countdown by celebrating the hard-working families who are the founders of this amazing, globally-recognised event, and whose efforts make Oktoberfest Brisbane such a special day out for other families, from across Queensland, around Australia – or all over the world. Theirs is a German-Australian partnership forged by a goal to bring you the most authentic and best Oktoberfest experience you will find outside Germany. Let’s also take a moment to think of the other families and young people who are assisted by their efforts – Youngcare, the charity helping young people facing a range of challenges and accommodation issues, which has benefited over the years to the tune of many tens of thousands of dollars thanks to YOUR support of this great event!