Although numbers were slightly down due to adverse weather conditions over the weekend, Oktoberfest will stay on Queanbeyan soil for the next two years.
Harmonie Club General Manager Paul Berger said the community and support from the NSW Government and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council have ensured the festival stays at the Queanbeyan Showgrounds after moving from Exhibition Park in Canberra.
Despite a couple of Canberra MLAs telling Mr Berger they were keen to get the event back in Canberra if there was a change in government, he said it would continue to be staged in Queanbeyan.
“The Queanbeyan community welcomed us with open arms back in 2017, and each year help us grow the festival,” Mr Berger said.
“We hope to continue to provide Queanbeyan with this wonderful celebration of German culture for many more years.”
Mr Berger said while other events suffered due to the strong winds on Friday and Saturday, Oktoberfest numbers were only 20 per cent down on previous years.
“Given the weather, it was still an outstanding result. There were festivals closing in Canberra on the weekend, but we managed to get through with good numbers.”
Many utilised the event’s marquee, which is 45 metres wide and 65 metres in length.
“Once you were under the marquee, you couldn’t even feel the weather, which was fantastic,” Mr Berger said.
“We were really concerned about the event with the weather that was forecast, but it has completely outweighed our expectations.
“If the weather had been favourable, we would have been looking at three straight years of growth.”
Mr Berger said about 1000 people attended on Friday night and stayed on for DJ Havana Brown, despite a few complaints from some locals about excessive noise.
“We had about 2000 people through on the Saturday and 2100 on the Sunday family day when the weather fined up.
“It’s just a testament to how well supported our move to Queanbeyan has been.”
Member for Monaro John Barilaro said the NSW Government will provide $50,000 from its Stronger Communities Fund to ensure Oktoberfest stays in Queanbeyan.
Mr Barilaro joined Queanbeyan-Palerang Mayor Tim Overall to officially open the festival on Friday.
“Thousands of locals and visitors from as far as Wollongong and Sydney travel to Queanbeyan for this fantastic festival, providing a massive boost for local businesses,” Mr Barilaro said.
“That is why I am pleased to announce that the NSW Government is committing $50,000 to ensure Oktoberfest’s success in Queanbeyan over the next two years.”
Mayor Overall said the council has also committed funds to ensure the festival’s continued success in Queanbeyan.
“Oktoberfest is a well-known, well-established and successful community event, which sits very nicely within the Queanbeyan Showground and its surrounds,” Mr Overall said.
“The event brings a great deal of fun, vitality and laughter to Queanbeyan and the community looks forward to it each year.”
The Harmonie German Club has been providing Oktoberfest to the ACT and surrounds since 1962, with the help of volunteers.
Mr Berger said they rely on the support of many Queanbeyan business to stage the event.
“We know it’s good for the Queanbeyan community, and we use a local baker for the bread and local electricians and as many Queanbeyan contractors as we can, so we believe we’re playing a big part in keeping the community active.”