When speaking of the Oktoberfest everybody’s mind goes to Germany, and in particular to the city of Munich, but one would hardly think of South America (renowned for other kinds of celebrations), yet the world’s second biggest Beer Festival actually takes place in Brazil, precisely in the city of Blumeanu. With a population of 293.000, Blumeanu lies along the valley of Itajaì river, in the southern province of Santa Catarina.
As a matter of fact, Blumenau has a strong European soul. It was founded on 2nd September 1850 by the German pharmacist Hermann Bruno Otto von Blumenau, who reached the mouth of river Velha on board of a small boat with other 17 German farmers. Originally the area was being populated by native tribes, but when the German colony began to prosper, the typical German wooden houses appeared in this secluded land.
Over the course of time the German colons gradually abandoned their native language and habits, although they never lost their roots completely.
In 1983 a terrible flood of river Itajaí- Açú hit the city, but the inhabitants faced the terrible situation bravely and stood up again. The following year a festival was organized to lift the mood and the economy of the city, and to celebrate the German identity and culture.
Inspired by the famous beer festival which originated in Munich in 1810, the first Oktoberfest was organized in Blumenau.
The official site of this amazing festival, which has seen the participation of a stunning 19 million visitors in 28 editions (from the initial 102.000 of 1984 to more than 589.351 in 2012!) states:
“In Blumenau the Oktoberfest is a part of the people’s soul and belongs to everybody’s history. This is why October is a special month. In these 18 days celebrations, the citizens of Blumenau blend with visitors from Brazil and from all over the world”.
Visiting Brazil is an extraordinary experience on its own, and a big festival like the Oktoberfest can only make it better.