My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
If you've ever watched a Hollywood frat boy comedy you might think Oktoberfest was all about beer, bratwurst and bosoms. It's true, you will find those things at Oktoberfest Brisbanebut the festival is really a joyful celebration of the entire gamut of German culture.
I was fortunate enough to attend one of the utmost highlights of Oktoberfest Brisbane, Anzapfen on the 7th of October, where the Lord Mayor taps the first keg of beer. The first stein is then offered to the Head of State and the announcement "O'zapft is" ("It is tapped") is made. A host of VIPs were in attendance to witness Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk kick off the two-week Oktoberfest Brisbane celebrations, after which the festival taps were pumping out stein after stein of beer that had been especially brewed for the festival by Tucher.
There is so much delicious German food on offer at Oktoberfest Brisbane, the most difficult thing will be deciding what to eat! We treated our taste buds to pretzels, bratwurst, sauerkraut, pickles, rye bread, potato salad and chips, cheese, bacon, cured meats, schnitzel, and even attempted to fit in some coffee and cake. You'll also find gingerbread galore, pork knuckles, torte, bee stings, cotton candy, strudel and so much more on sale from German Sausage Hut, German Potato Hut, Haxen Haus, K&K Schnitzel & Burger Haus, King of Cakes, the Organic Cotton Candy Company and German Hut Biergarten Imbiss.
Language It's amazing how many German words you probably already know, but Oktoberfest Brisbane is an excellent opportunity to learn a few more words and phrases while having fun. If you really enjoy learning another language, you can also stop by theBrisbane German Language School stand and have a chat with them about their not-for-profit classes for all ages and experience levels. Here are a few important words you can use while you and the family and friends are having fun at the festival...
Bier (Beer) – that ought to be an easy one to remember!
Brezel (Pretzel) – another one that's so similar to the English translation, you won't need to tie your tongue in knots to say it.
Dirndl – this is the traditional dress you'll see many of the women wearing, consisting of a bodice, blouse, skirt, and apron.
Lebkuchenherz – this one is a little trickier to say, but try breaking it down into syllables and adding a little glottal sound to your ch, and you'll be saying the word for gingerbread heart, leb-kuch-en-herz.
Lederhose – leather pants worn as part of the traditional male clothing along with a shirt, long socks, special shoes and a hat.
Prost – this is how to say cheers before your Biers! If you like to mix it up a little you could also say 'Zum Wohl' which means 'To your health'.
I'd recommend hopping on the rides before you eat!
The festival program this year is massive and includes German bands, yodeling, traditional dancing, and competitions to find the best beards and strongmen. There are also films for the whole family, rides, Miss Oktoberfest, fashion parades, cooking demonstrations, and even the chance to try your hand at milking a cow! Keep the littlies happy with a visit to the petting zoo, free circus workshop, kids' gardening, and the Ocean Life Discovery Experience.
Fancy a pair of your own Lederhose? Perhaps you think you could rock the Dirndl. The one and only authentic dirndl & lederhosen shop in Australia, Schnucki Dirndl Lederhosen have a stall packed with traditional German threads so you can enjoy Oktoberfest Brisbane in style.
Click here to see a full list of stallholders at this year's event.
As the event's PR says, "Over the past nine years Oktoberfest Brisbane has grown to become Australia's largest German Festival, with more than 40,000 culture-seeking enthusiasts last year descending on Brisbane to experience the celebration of German culture and tradition."
This year it's not just the event's local and international history being celebrated, it's also a chance to celebrate a very important law. Think you know all about Bier? Unless you pop into the 1516 Das Reinheitsgebot Exhibition you might not know the full story. There you'll learn the history of beer and the Bavarian Purity Law – the oldest food law on record which ruled that the only ingredients allowed in beer making were water, hops and malt. You can even see, touch and smell beer ingredients.
Oktoberfest Brisbane really is a cultural event all ages can enjoy. The Brisbane Showgrounds gurgle with laughter, friendliness, joy, dance, song, good food and most importantly German culture. Tickets are available at the gate, but it's recommended to sort them out, along with your digital wallet prior to attending. With trains and buses stopping right out the front, if you're planning to drink, there's no need to drive too!