Come September and beer lovers all over the world look forward to the annual celebration of beer, an ode to the ‘liquid gold’, the raucous beer-themed festival- Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is the world’s largest and oldest beer festival, which originated more than 200 years ago in Bavaria, Germany.
The first Oktoberfest was held on October 17, 1810, to celebrate the nuptials of Bavaria’s Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese Charlotte Louise of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The large meadow outside the city gates was the venue of the celebration. All of Munich was invited to attend the festivities, which featured much music, dancing, and horse races and extended over five days. The meadow was then renamed Theresienwiese in honor of the new queen. The wedding festivities were such a hit with the populace that it was decided to make this multi-day celebration an annual affair and thus the Oktoberfest was born.
The present-day Oktoberfest is a grand celebration of beer, which begins towards the end of September (as better weather prevails over Bavaria then) and continues over the next two weeks. Six traditional Bavarian breweries set up tents in the meadow or ‘Wiesn and serve liters of beer specially brewed for this annual to nearly six million hungry and thirsty revelers. This grand homage to the amber brew features many attractions including folk attired in authentic German costumes, dirndl and lederhosen, tankards of beer and much traditional German fare. Classic German eats such as sausages served with mustard and sauerkraut, pretzel rolls, potato salad, apple strudel, spit-grilled chicken, roast pork, sweet and savory pies are in abundance at the beer tents. Aside from beer, the revelries feature parades, music, dancing, carnivalrides, games, and fireworks.
The Oktoberfest festivities have today spread beyond the shores of Munich, as celebratory events are held in many cities around the globe including Hong Kong. The international city’s many German-themed barslike Berliner, Biergarten, Brotzeit, and Schnurrbart host special events for the festival. However, the most prominent celebrations for Oktoberfest in Hong Kong are the festivities the Hong Kong Jockey Club Racecourse at Happy Valley and the Marco Polo hotel.
So if you are itching to raise your stein and holler ‘prost’ you have a number of choices to experience the classic German Oktoberfest in Hong Kong.
Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel Bierfest
The Marco Polo German Bierfest is Asia’s oldest beer festival. The world’s largest wheat brewery Erdinger supplies the hotel with a special Oktoberfest brew for the event. The German ban Die Notenhobler has played Oompah music at the event since 1994. The hotel hosts its Oktoberfest spectacle on its magnificent open-air deck, which fronts Victoria Harbor. Games, competitions, dancing, music and plentiful German eats are a regular feature of the event.
Oktoberfest at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley Racecourse
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Happy Valley course kicked off its Oktoberfest celebrations on September 23rd with the Consul General of Germany, Nikolaus Graf in attendance. The beer-themed festivities are scheduled for Happy Wednesday race meetings until the end of October. The jamboree will feature liters of chilled,cold German beers like Erdinger, Beck’s, Lowenbrau and others accompanied byclassic German fare served at the counters of the Beer Garden. Lively Oompahmusic from German bands Notenhobler and Talbachbuam and contests like a‘speed-drinking contest’, ‘hold the beer’ contest and the ‘fiendish mazechallenge' are the highlights on the merriment on offer.
Alternatively you can hop on a ferry to Macau and head to the Oktoberfest extravaganza being hosted nightly at the MGM resort in conjunction with the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Hong Kong and the German Macau Business Association.