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The best Oktoberfests in the world

3 October 2018

If we're all being realistic, we all know where the best Oktoberfest is going to be. But, for the sake of debate and perhaps to learn something new, let's pretend that Germany isn't going to take up every one of the spots on this list. This incredible celebration of beer and the wonders of German culture is the world's largest volksfest (folk festival), and began in Germany in the 19th century to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese of Saxi-Hildburghausen.  Of course this wasn't the reason for it every year, but in 1811 on the first anniversary of the celebrations, the people realised they had had so much fun they decided to do it again. And thus, a legend was born.

Blumenau, Brazil

Brazil isn't exactly the first place you'd think if you think 'German folk celebrations' but there's no doubting that the Brazilians love a bit of a party. Although it's widely accepted that Brazil was mostly settled by the Portuguese, the south of Brazil saw a fair number of German colonies. The festival in Blumenau started up in 1984 as an attempt to revitalise the economy after a particularly devastating flood. It worked, and the Blumenau celebration has become the biggest Oktoberfest event outside of Germany. One notable activity here is the metre drink, where competitors have to drink beer from a metre-long glass without spilling any. It's harder than it sounds, especially if you've probably had a few already.

Cincinatti, USA

German culture has had a lot of influence in the USA. After all, America was one of the places that plenty of Germans emigrated to in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cincinnati, however, also boasts a really wonderful culture of brewing that is unmatched anywhere else in the country. Known as Oktoberfest Zinzinnati for that extra touch of German authenticity, this is the largest celebration of its kind in America, and a truly wonderful celebration of both German and American culture. Here, you'll find heaps of cosy comfort foods, including gigantic soft pretzels lovingly made by Servatii Pastry Shop. In 1994, Zinzinnati broke the record for the world's largest chicken dance, something that probably only sounds like a good idea if people have previously imbibed a lot of alcohol.

Brisbane, Australia

We don't give enough love to Australia, but they've earned some recognition on this list with their Oktoberfest celebrations in Brisbane. A country that is famous for their love of beer, it does make sense that Brisbane would host a really wonderful Oktoberfest. This one also takes place in their spring and we all know that there's nothing better than an ice cold beer on a warm day! Each brew is served in specially cooled steins to ensure the beer remains at optimal drinking temperature, presumably due to the Australian's preference of lager over ale, and the event actually takes place over the first 2 weekends in October, rather than across a couple of days as Oktoberfest usually is. This isn't Australia's biggest Oktoberfest, but as the biggest one takes place across 3 cities (Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney), we've decided that's kind of cheating and so this one wins.

Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong has a pretty big expat community, so it makes sense that a few Germans have made their homes here as well, and bought along Oktoberfest for the ride. Taking place at the Marco Polo Hotel, this is quite a small celebration with room for just 1,500 attending. These small (comparatively) numbers though is actually what makes it rather special, considering it's been running since 1992 and people come from all over the world to experience it. With a myriad of German delicacies, oom-pah bands who have travelled all the way from Germany, rooms within staggering reach, and oodles of German beer, this is certainly a lovely and intimate event with a certain hint of exclusivity.

Munich, Germany

I'm sure you're all surprised that the best place to celebrate Oktoberfest is in Munich. I'm sure you'll all genuinely surprised that Oktoberfest in Munich actually takes place in September (so if you're wanting to head there this year, you're too late). The original and the best, Munich is the place to enjoy the true spirit of Bavaria. Enjoy traditional beer tents and halls with traditional steins of beer, all served by an array of men and women in traditional dirndls and lederhosen. Where every other country in the world celebrates Oktoberfest as a wonderful, if pale, imitation and celebration of German culture, let's all be honest, if you want to do the festival right, you should do it in Munich. And a lot of people do 'do it right', with an average of five million people descending on Munich every September to lose themselves in the spirit of the place, as well as in the spirits of the place.

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