By Sarah Brown, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – One of Brazil’s most popular festivals is back again, inspiring people from all over Brazil to travel to Blumenau in Santa Catarina to enjoy the fun and party spirit of Oktoberfest. The event started on Wednesday, October 5th and will continue until Sunday, October 23rd so there is still time to enjoy the final weekend there.
Oktoberfest is a party that involves the whole city, yet is concentrated in the Vila Germânica park in Bairro da Velha. The park is a complex of 26,000 meters squared of constructed area. As well as pavilions, there are a number of shops that came to be known as the Vila Germânica (German Village) due to the architectural characteristics.
In the shops around the square, visitors can buy souvenirs of Blumenau and party items for the festival. During the rest of the year, the Center of Events within the Vila Germânica park is used for fairs, exhibitions, congresses and various other events.
Yet in October, for nineteen days, it plays host to Oktoberfest which aside from the large quantities of beer, serves to show the cultural richness of the city and their love of music and dancing, provide traditional German food and preserve the tradition of the deeply ingrained German heritage that underlies the city’s culture. Having begun in 1984, it is now in its 33rd edition, with last year attracting nearly half a million visitors to the event. This event is a replica of the German Oktoberfest held in Munich each year that dates back to 1810.
Miguel Gomez, an architect from Mexico, visited Blumenau with his friends last year during his university exchange in Brazil. “When we arrived [in Blumenau] we were surprised by how nice and German-like was the town and the first thing we did, of course, was buy some beer.”
“The place was full of music and people dressed in typical German costumes, a really great atmosphere”, reminisces Miguel. “We kept drinking and having a great time, and we met some really cool people.”
“My favorite part…I wouldn’t know how to pinpoint something,” reflects Miguel. “I would say I loved the beer, the company and the people we met.”
The event supplies typical beers by Germany, such as Bierland, Wunder Bier and Eisenbahn, the latter being the official brewery of the event. There is also a gastronomic area with food truck and stalls of typical German cuisine and the highly anticipated beauty pageant that crowns one girl the Queen of Oktoberfest.
Tickets can be bought online or at the event. Visitors queue up to enter the park and then can buy a ticket that represents a certain quantity of beers. The event opens at 11AM although some sections may open later at 6PM. See event site for details.
What: Oktoberfest 2016
Where: Vila Germânica park, R. Alberto Stein, 199 – Velha, Blumenau – Tel: (47) 3381-7700
When: Wednesday, October 5th – Sunday October 23rd
Entrance: R$10 – R$40