This blog post was updated on July 27, 2021.
Attention, beer fans, and bratwurst aficionados! Your favorite time of year is upon us. That’s right, it’s almost time for Oktoberfest, which we’re sure you know is mostly in September and by tradition spans the 17 days leading up to the first Sunday of October. It’s considered the world’s largest beer festival and traveling fair which started out as the wedding celebration of Princess Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen in a field on the edge of Munich with the entire city present in 1810.
So in honor of this major celebration of Bavarian culture, we decided to run down the top five Oktoberfests to attend…that aren’t in Germany.
Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Started in 1969, the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest held in Ontario is considered the second-largest edition of the fest on the planet. The festivities usually run from the second week of October and typically include a parade, a fashion show, a Miss Oktoberfest contest, a 5K fun run, a bike tour, a beer tent (of course), and much more.
An Oktoberfest celebration so major it has its own Wikipedia page, the Blumenau Oktoberfest held in Brazil is a notorious version of the celebration. It’s been going on since the 1980s and features a Queen of Oktoberfest pageant, a drinking competition where the contestants see who can down a meter of beer the fastest, and more. The festivities usually run from the second to the third week of October.
Can’t afford international flights to Germany, Brazil or Canada? No worries–you still have options right here in the U.S.A The largest Oktoberfest in America, this celebration in Cincinnati (which is written out as “ZinZinnatti” for the festival) is normally set to run the third week of September. Events include the annual running of the Wieners, the world’s largest chicken dance, a tug o’ war competition, and a whole lot of beer, food, and live music.
Arguably the only Oktoberfest worth attending in the land down under, Australia’s Oktoberfest essentially turns the city’s downtown into a small German town for two weekends every fall. The celebration usually takes place in the second week of October. Notable festival features include a farm animal petting zoo, a puppet show, lessons on German dancing, Miss Oktoberfest Brisbane, Bavarian Strongmen competitions, and German language classes for teens.
The self-proclaimed longest-running Oktoberfest in Asia, Hong Kong’s Marco Polo German Bierfest usually runs from the end of October to the first week of November. Participants can look forward to partaking in plenty of German food and beer, as well as dancing to live German music. One interesting highlight of the celebration is on Halloween night when visitors are encouraged to attend in costume.