Calling all hearty milkmaids and bearded strong men
Hallo. It's time to brave the bratwursts, don your dirndls and Spaß haben (have fun)! Hobart's annual Oktoberfest is coming up October 10-11, and you won't want to miss your chance to get drink beer, foot stomp to traditional German music, and vote for your favourite bearded man or Bavarian beauty.
So what's Oktoberfest all about? It all started with a wedding in Germany back in 1810. Crown Prince Ludwig married Princess Therese, and the good folk of Munich were invited to attend festivities held in front of the city gates to celebrate the union. The fun started off with horse races, but when they next year rolled around, organisers decided to add an agricultural show in an attempt to boost Bavarian farming. In subsequent years came the carousels and swings, and by the late 1800s, beer stalls and tents started to take over, alongside a fun fair.
These days, Oktoberfest events are held all over the world. This year, Hobart is planning to put on its best Oktoberfest ever. The city's nod to this German tradition will involve beer stein races (a relay race where participants must carry beer steins filled to the rim), strong woman battles, Miss Oktoberfest, cow milking, oompah bands, beard competitions and beard drinking. There will also be plenty of German food and the opportunity to learn about Bavarian culture and history. Oh, and expect the odd chicken dance here or there. Don't say we didn't warn you. Let's not even discuss the bratwurst and pretzel-eating competitions, shall we?
Beer, of course, is of vital importance at Oktoberfest. Organisers at the Hobart celebrations intend to keep things as authentic as possible, and will offer 14 imported beers straight from Munich. These beers comply with the "Bavarian Purity Law" of 1487, in which only four ingredients are permitted in beer brewing – hops, barley malt, yeast and water. Some of the beers on offer include Hofbräu Original, Hofbräu Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier Dunken and Spaten Munich Hell.