Sauerkraut, schnitzel and beer, oh my!
Oktoberfest, sometimes incorrectly spelled Octoberfest, is an annual celebration of all things beer. What started out as a royal wedding back in the early 1800s has now become one of the largest fall festivals in the world. Of course when you think of Oktoberfest you think of all things German. While Munich is considered ground zero for Oktoberfest, the fall festival is also celebrated vigorously throughout the world.
Canada is Host to the Largest Oktoberfest outside of Germany
Outside of Germany, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario is considered to be the next largest Oktoberfest gathering. The twin cities of Kitchener-Waterloo have a lot of German roots. After all, Kitchener was originally named Berlin. The most well-known event is the Oktoberfest parade which is held on Canadian Thanksgiving (in 2013 that was October 14th). And if you’re wondering just how long until the next Oktoberfest celebration gets underway, well wonder no more as the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest website has a countdown clock ticking off the days until the next Oktoberfest.
Oktoberfest by the Numbers
While Oktoberfest celebrations are still occurring in certain parts, in Munich it ended last week. And given the numbers, I’m sure that organizers are still cleaning up.
- 1.8 million gallons of beer were consumed (believe it or not that was down from 2012 where 1.82 million gallons of beer was drunk)
- 6.4 million visitors to beer tents imbibed
- of the 6.4 million visitors, 638 people required medical attention for over drinking (in Munich this group is known as “bierleichen” or “beer corpses”
- of the 638 “beer corpses”, one 17-year-old girl had a blood alcohol level of 3.4 (in case you’re wondering that’s seven times the legal limit for driving)
* Source: Der Spiegel
Oktoberfest Celebrations across the US
Not to be outdone by Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada, the US has its fair share of Oktoberfest celebrations as well. Bet you didn’t know that the largest Oktoberfest celebrations in the US are held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Followed very closely by Denver, Colorado. However you don’t have to live in Cincinnati or Denver to partake in the celebrations. Click here for a list of Oktoberfest celebrations around the US.
What started as a royal wedding back in 1810, Oktoberfest has now become one of fall’s largest festivals. While a trip to Munich, Germany should certainly be on your bucket list, there are many places throughout the US and Canada (and the world) which celebrate this annual festival.