Thomas Gurka and Kurt Ams from St. Raphaels German folk dancing group. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
BEER and bratwurst weren't the only attractions at Oktoberfest on Saturday, with a perfectly timed watschn dance leading some merry attendees to attempt recreations of the rhythmic face-slapping number.
Lederhosen and dirndls of varying lengths were the outfits of choice for the more than 10,000 beer lovers expected to attend the event over three days.
The leader of the visiting St Raphael's German folk dancing group from Sydney, Joe Gurka, said the crowds got rowdier as the evening progressed, and even members of the dancing troupe pulled back a few steins between performances.
St. Raphaels German folk dancing group members Andrew Madry, Thomas Gurka, Kurt Ams, Nico Schulenkorf and William Porkert. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Established in 1976, the dancing group has made the trip from NSW to Canberra for the annual event on half-a-dozen occasions.
''It's big - everyone has fun, they're all into the atmosphere and drinking a lot of beer,'' Mr Gurka said.
Along with Bavarian dances and folk music, drinking songs were popular as the evening of merriment progressed.
Melanie Kestler and Steffi Sodar from Germany with a basket of pretzels during the 2013 Oktoberfest at EPIC. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
The president of the Harmonie German Club, Hans Stoehr, said the club has hosted the annual event in the ACT for more than 25 years, giving Canberrans a good taste of the festival celebrated in Munich by more than 5 million people from mid-September each year.
Traditional German foods including wrstl sausages, heart-shaped gingerbread always sold during the festival, brezn pretzels, smoked pork knuckles, schnitzel and sauerkraut cabbage were eagerly sampled by the thirsty and hungry hordes.
■Oktoberfest continues on Sunday. Entry is $10 with $5 donated to charity. Gates open at 11am.