I’m sure you’ve heard of the yearly celebration of Oktoberfest- but have you ever wondered what it actually is? We’re going to walk you through a quick Oktoberfest 101 today, so grab a beer and get comfy. Prost!
Common misconception: Oktoberfest is not the entire month of October.
In fact- it’s hardly even in the month of October! Running from mid to late September into only the first weekend of October, Oktoberfest is a 16-18 day festival that’s actually been running since 1810! From 1810 to 2018 there have only been 24 years the festival did not happen (understandably so, it withstands both World Wars and much more).
Fun Fact: Official Oktoberfest beer is brewed from the same 6 breweries and is specially made 2% stronger in alcohol! (Where’s my plane ticket?)
It’s conception in 1810 was actually a wedding ceremony between Ludwig I of Bavaria (future King) and Therese Charlotte Luise (who only a year earlier was on the list of possible brides for Napoleon– hmmm, marrying Napoleon or starting a 200+ year beer festival… I’d choose the latter). The pair became King and Queen of Bavaria not many years after their wedding, which was in Munich, Bavaria, Germany where the festival still happens to this day.
As of 1950, a new tradition began for the “opening ceremonies” so-to-speak. Beginning with a 12 gun salute at noon, followed by the Mayor of Munich tapping the first keg (“O’zapft is!” – “It’s tapped!”) and pouring the first litre of beer to the Minister-President of Bavaria. The more than 6 million people from around the world who attend then enjoy a few weeks of beer, parades, horse racing, beer, amusement rides, side stalls, games, a flea circus (yep), lots of food and beer! (Did I mention beer?)
World Record: Oktoberfest holds the record for world’s largest ‘Volksfest’ (or peoples festival). Luckily they have 42 hectares of land to play with.
With over 6 million attendees only 28% of them are not from the home state of Bavaria! Don’t fret if you can’t get that plane ticket though- worldwide Oktoberfest celebrations have popped up in 17 countries to date! Here in Ontario Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest brings over 700,000 visitors to the (formerly named ‘Berlin’) city. Filled with German descendants Kitchener hosts a 9 day celebration including the only major Canadian Thanksgiving Parade – which is televised nationally.
Need a job?: Experienced waiters at Oktoberfest need an average of only 1.5 seconds to fill a traditional Maß (1 Litre of beer)
And finally… our VERY OWN Niagara Falls Oktoberfest is October 5 & 6 this year! The 4th annual celebration is held at the Scotiabank Convention Centre featuring authentic German cuisine (mmm schnitzel!), lots of freshly poured German traditional & local craft beer, live entertainment and more! For more information visit http://niagarafallsoktoberfest.com
To explore more of Niagara’s craft breweries, reserve a spot for when you visit on our daily tour! To reserve your spot click here!
PROST! CHEERS! SALUTE!
-Brewery & Distillery Tours Niagara