Oktoberfest makes its home in Queanbeyan with five-year funding deal

Ian Bushnell 9 March 2018

Under the big tent at Oktoberfest 2017 at the Queanbeyan Showground. Photo: Facebook.

Canberra may have lost Oktoberfest across the border for good, with the Harmonie German Club clinching a five-year, $275,000 deal with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

The club said that after the success of the 2017 event at the Queanbeyan Showground, QPRC councillors had agreed to contribute $55,000 a year for five years towards marquee hire and marketing to keep the flagship event in the NSW regional centre.

This comes on top of ongoing support from the office of the NSW Deputy Premier and Member for Monaro, John Barilaro.

Harmonie German Club President Kevin Bramboeck said the deal vindicated the decision to move the annual festival of German culture to Queanbeyan.

“This is a wonderful endorsement from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council – especially Mayor Tim Overall and Councillor Mark Schweikhert – and comes in the Club’s 55th anniversary year,” Mr Bramboeck said.

“Last year, we took a huge leap of faith in moving Oktoberfest to Queanbeyan, and it proved to be the best move we could have made. So many people have told us that it was the closest to the genuine Munich Wiesn that they have experienced in Australia.

“Many of our older German members had tears in their eyes, and said this is what Oktoberfest is meant to look like – in the fields, and a big tent – not a garage.”

He said more than 7000 people came through the gate over the three days, drawing patrons from as far away as Cooma, Jindabyne, Wollongong and Sydney, as well as busloads from Bungendore, Woden, Tuggeranong, and Civic.

“With this commitment from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and the NSW Government, we believe that our Oktoberfest will be the best in Australia,” Mr Bramboeck said.

The club said that it alone directly poured more than $50,000 into Queanbeyan businesses through goods and services during Oktoberfest 2017, and patrons spent much more.

Oktoberfest is celebrated all over the world between September and October each year. Brisbane and Canberra are the two biggest Oktoberfests in Australia.

Each year, more than a tonne of pork knuckles, 180 barrels of German beer, 4500 bottles of German beer, 4000 sausages and 2700 pretzels are consumed at the Canberra region Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest will be held at the Queanbeyan Showground from 26-28 October 2018. Tickets will be available soon on the Club’s website www.harmonieclub.com.au.

Volunteers can register their interest by contacting admin@harmonieclub.com.au.

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