The city of Munich, Germany is a clash of traditional meets modern that creates a breathtaking mishmash of modern skyscrapers to churches that date back to before the 12thcentury. Another piece of history that is still celebrated today is the annual Oktoberfest, or as the locals refer to it “die Wiesn”, after the fairgrounds themselves.
The first Oktoberfest was held over 200 years ago in honor of the Baravarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Now streets fill with visitors wearing traditional dirndls, lederhosen and Oktoberfest Baravian hats (Tirolrthüte), which contain tufts of goat hair, while clinking overflowing steins of world famous beers in celebration.
Over five million travelers take vacations to Germany every October for these festivities, making Oktoberfest one of the largest festivals in the world. These visitors enjoy over seven million liters of Oktoberfest beer. This isn’t just any beer; beer that is sold at Oktoberfest must be brewed within the city limits of Munich and is usually 6.3% alcoholic and much sweeter than traditional German beers.
These festivities offer more than steins dripping with beer. They also serve a variety of traditional foods such as Hendl (chicken), Schweinebraten (roast pork), Steckerlfisch (grilled fish on a stick), Würsl (sausages) along with Breseln (pretzel), Käsespätzle (cheese noodles) or Knödel (potato pancakes). Also present are various Baravian delicacies like Obatzda (a spiced cheese-butter spread) and Weisswurst (a white sausage).
If all of this is making your mouth water but you can’t take a flight to Germany for this world renowned festival don’t worry. Many cities all across Canada host their own Oktoberfest celebrations. Kitchener-Waterloo hosts North America’s largest Oktoberfest celebration that transforms the city into a German community. Other cities that bring Germany closer to home are Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal.