AFTER more than 50 years in Canberra the Harmonie German Club moved Oktoberfest across the border to the Queanbeyan Showground, which is where it’ll stay.
The move occurred last year following the crippling costs at EPIC, which seems to have lost Oktoberfest to Queanbeyan, with the Harmonie German Club signing a five-year, $275,000 deal with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.
Harmonie German Club president Kevin Bramboeck says this is a wonderful endorsement from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and comes in the Club’s 55th anniversary year.
“The Harmonie German Club is one of the Canberra region’s earliest multicultural clubs, and has a proud and successful history of hosting Oktoberfest since the early 1960s,” he says.
“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.
“More than 7000 people came through the gate over the three days, and hundreds of kids entered for free, with free sideshow rides and great German entertainment.
“With this commitment from the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and the NSW Government, we believe that our Oktoberfest will be the best in Australia.”
The Harmonie German Club alone directly poured more than $50,000 into Queanbeyan businesses through goods and services during Oktoberfest 2017, and patrons spent much more.
Harmonie German club manager Paul Berger says the flow-on effect from Oktoberfest injected much-needed income into the local economy.
“Hosting Oktoberfest is a vital part of the Harmonie German Club’s commitment to keeping German culture alive and thriving in the ACT region, but it requires a huge investment of time and money,” he says.
“The Club has a dedicated and growing band of volunteers, known as the Harmonie Army, to help set up stalls, cook and serve food, and generally bring the German gemutlichkeit to the event.”
Oktoberfest will be held at the Queanbeyan Showground from October 26-28. Tickets will be available soon at harmonieclub.com.au.