Sunday, 2 December 2012

Explore Shanghai: Shanghai Oktoberfest

I know this is way overdue, but I do want to record this down in my blog for when I grow old and want to look back on my life. Lol. It's December, I know, and I did this in September for Oktoberfest. But hey, a year would fly by before we all know it, and it will be Oktoberfest 2013. ;)

A little about Oktoberfest if you know little about it other than that it involves a whole lot of beer and sausages. It originated in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, and lasts for 16 days running from late September to the first Sunday in October. It is one of the largest and most famous events in Germany, with 6 million people attending it every year, though not necessarily in Germany itself. If, however, the first Sunday falls on the 1st or 2nd October, then it would run until the 3rd October which is Germany Unity Day. Extended partying never hurt anyone, right? 

According to wiki - 
"Crown Prince Ludwig, later to become King Ludwig I, was married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. The citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates to celebrate the happy royal event. The fields were named Theresienwiese ("Theresa's meadow") in honor of the Crown Princess, and have kept that name ever since, although the locals have since abbreviated the name simply to the "Wies'n".
Horse races in the presence of the Royal Family marked the close of the event that was celebrated as a festival for the whole of Bavaria. The decision to repeat the horse races in the subsequent year gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest."

To summarize, basically it's a marriage celebration carnival which kinda repeated itself the following year (without the marriage of course) that started Oktoberfest. #长话短说
In it's 15th year running, Shanghai Oktoberfest at Renaissance Hotel is the only Oktoberfest in Shanghai recognised by the Shanghai Tourism Board, and I had the chance to experience it first hand while *hosting for CityBeat for ICS (International Channel of Shanghai). ^.^

*I really want to say thanks to everyone who helped give me the opportunity to expose myself and host a segment of CityBeat. (Or for any programme at all.)  It was really an experience and I'm grateful. Every filming opened my eyes to the world that little bit more, and I got to see what I might never have if I wasn't given the opportunity. Thank you 贵人s. 

A little about beers for Oktoberfest - Only beer conforming to the Bavarian Purity Law at a minimum of 13.5% Stammwürze (appx 6% alcohol), brewed within the city limits of Munich, are allowed to be served at Oktoberfest. Currently, this means only these 6 breweries may produce Oktoberfest Beer:

Weihenstephan is not an official Oktoberfest Beer, but as Bavaria's oldest, as well as the world's oldest operating brewery, it is as German as it can get. It was said that in 2011, the beer ran out halfway through the event! This year, they stocked enough to last through the whole Oktoberfest, for an even bigger crowd. Yay to beer-lovers!

The beer was a very very big pint. For me at least. 1 helping was all I could down that evening. Plus I can't really drink beer as it makes me bloated.

German sausages are known to be big too. 
Don't let your mind wander too far....*coughs*

 The guy in charge of organizing Oktoberfest this year.

All the crew were dressed in traditional German costumes - the men in lederhosens and ladies in dirndls. I love traditional costumes, they speak so much about a cultural identity and are usually so pretty and colourful! 

That's me in a pseudo-dirndl. 

 All excited about the event that's going to start! Tell you guys a secret - it was my first ever Oktoberfest! I was really curious about what it was all about because I have heard so much about it even in Singapore.

 The crew being briefed about what to do.

 A bunch of weird foods (to me) on the table set-up. I really have no idea what those were, or if there is any order to how I was supposed to eat them. I remember most of those preserved meats as being very, very salty...

 Not a fan of meat, so really, apart from the salads and mushroom soup, none of these foods really worked me up. I could understand why most Germans are so big. They eat so much meat!!!

Familiar ground. =D

 I had no idea it was going to be this crowded. Chinese, Germans, Australians, Americans, and this random Singaporean ( were amongst this huge turnout. 

 My Weihenstephan! It was such a huge pint for me that halfway through this I didn't really have much capacity left in my stomach for food. How did the German ladies (especially those dressed in tight dirndls) do this???

It was a night of beer, sausages, song and dance, and lots of merry-making! Will I go for another round of Oktoberfest? Sure! I kind of want to see the actual one in Munich - what goes on, the carnival, surrounded by native Bavarians, you know, that whole immersion in the culture where it all started. I'm also curious about the official Oktoberfest Beers. It's said to be sweeter than normal, and people pass out during Oktoberfest because the beers taste so good that people don't pay attention to how much they've consumed. 

I'm keeping my alcohol consumption limits. Don't want to be seen passed out in an ugly position with puke over my outfit. Lol.


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