Queanbeyan hosts first Oktoberfest after 50 years in Canberra

Queanbeyan hosts first Oktoberfest after 50 years in Canberra

Bavaria paid a visit to Queanbeyan this weekend with the annual Oktoberfest celebrations held across the border for the first time.

After more than 50 years in Canberra, the Harmonie German Club hosted its Oktoberfest event at the Queanbeyan Showgrounds.

Dean Schmahl celebrates skolling a beer at Oktoberfest at the Queanbyean showground.

Dean Schmahl celebrates skolling a beer at Oktoberfest at the Queanbyean showground.Credit:Rohan Thomson

With more than 10,000 litres of beer, more than a tonne of pork knuckle and a quarter tonne of sauerkraut plus many more delicacies punters were guaranteed an extravagant German experience.

It was lucky the event happened at all as Harmonie club president Kevin Bramboeck said there were difficulties when it came to negotiations with the ACT government.


"The Queanbeyan-Palerang Council were extremely welcoming to us," Mr Bramboeck said.

"After 50 years in Canberra, when we asked the ACT government for a hand up, not a hand out, they weren't forthcoming.

"They couldn't care less, but Queanbeyan welcomed us with open arms."

Mr Bramboeck added that moving across the border had brought with it several benefits.

ACT liquor laws prohibit alcohol being served in a container larger than 570 millilitres, however this year's Oktoberfest features 1 litre steins of beer similar to its German counterparts.

Mr Bramboeck also said the new location had brought more regional visitors with busloads of people arriving from Bungendore as well as from the ACT.

As happy as the German club was with the move the feeling seems to be mutual with the people of Queanbeyan.

One of the locals enjoying the sun, schnitzels and steins was Taylor Browne who said it was great to see the showgrounds being used as it spends much of the year vacant.

"It's something different, I think Queanbeyan needs something like this," Ms Browne said.

"It brings a lot more people to our town."

Canberran Khan Burgess headed over after throwing a 'traditional' German costume together at Kmart. He said the great atmosphere invited everyone to get out and try the different foods and beers.

This was something Mr Bramboeck said the German club staff had worked very hard towards creating.

"This is not a piss-up," he said.

"We're here to give people a full German experience."

As such, Sunday is family day and people are encouraged to spend a day out with their children.

On top of the sausages and beers, Sunday will feature more live music, dancing, carnival rides and market stalls.

Tickets are $10 on Sunday and kids under 18 enter free. They are available online and at the showgrounds.

Elliot Williams is a reporter for The Canberra Times