October is my favorite time of year in Brazil. It is full of everything I love: chocolate, beer, beaches, wearing costumes, dancing, singing, parades, authentic German food, cheesy photo opportunities, and overall revelry. That’s why one of our favorite events and places in Brazil is Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest takes place in Blumenau, a very German city in Brazil. Also the pretty city of of Pomerode is just a short distance away.
When I first thought about moving to Brazil, I thought about tanned bodies laying at the beach, samba dancing the night away to African rhythms, and the party that is Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The last image in my mind was a huge population of people of European heritage that love polka dancing, beer drinking, sauekraut, and one of the greatest festivals in the world, Oktoberfest!
Oktoberfest 2014 was not a disappointment and we are excited to partake in the festivities in 2015, just right around the corner. In fact I convinced my friend to come visit us and attend Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest in Blumenau is a whole world apart from any Oktoberfest celebration we have in the United States, and it is something that must be experienced to believe. So, here are my top 10 reasons why you must celebrate Oktoberfest in Brazil.
1. The Second Largest Oktoberfest
Blumenau hosts the WORLDS second largest Oktoberfest! The Brazilian city of Blumenau hosts over 700,000 visitors to Oktoberfest per year (the city only has a population of around 300,000) for 18 days of beer guzzling, dancing, singing, parades, fun, oh and some German culture with that Brazilian flair! It is a party not to be missed.
Blumenau and Pomerode are situated in the European Valley in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. This area was named such due to the beautiful rolling green hills and land that was settled by Europeans mainly from Germany and Italy. The views are amazing. Imagine rolling green hills with quaint little German style farms and homes, near streams and rivers, cows grazing freely. The countryside here is absolutely beautiful!
3. The Most German City in Brazil
A short drive from Blumenau lies the small city of Pomerode. Pomerode is called the most German city in Brazil. Most of this city’s inhabitants are bilingual in German and Portuguese. The architecture is like something out of a Brothers Grim fairytale. You can visit the entrance of the city, the Portal Wolfgange Weege and have a wonderful German lunch of bratwurst, sauerkraut, spatzle, and schnitzel. Then have some delicious apfelstrudel, and wash all the food down with some wonderful microbrew! Following a delicious meal, you can visit the gift shop and buy lots of local, handmade, Brazilian-German trinkets. The woman at the visitor’s center will also allow you to wear a traditional German costume and take pictures for free!
4. The Costumes
Brazilians love to dress up in costume! You can purchase your own traditional German costume at many of the areas gift shops. People who wear costumes to Oktoberfest get in half priced! In 2014 I did not wear a costume to the big party but I did purchase some flowers for my hair and several beer steins that made excellent Christmas presents. The amount of people dressed up in German clothing just brings extra excitement and fun to the festivities. It puts everyone in the mood to have a great time!
5. People Watching
Brazil is home to some of the most beautiful people in the world, in part due to having so much ethnic diversity. Before moving to Brazil I assumed I would stand out in a crowd with my red hair and freckles, however in Santa Catartina I blend in, at least until someone hears my accent! Put your preconceptions aside because Brazil is truly a melting pot. People would swear that Blumenau has more blonde haired people than Southern California! Although unlike Southern California, their coloring did not come out of a bottle. I even saw several natural redheads like me! Add this, with some amazing costumes and a lot of exuberance, possibly related to alcohol consumption, makes for fun and entertaining people watching!
6. The Food
With the large German immigrant community you are bound to have some quality German food. It is all available – schnitzel, sausages, spetztl, etc. However, being Brazilian they have put their own spin on things. The batata recheada – or stuffed potato – rules all at the Blumenau Oktoberfest. Sure, I know you have tried baked potatoes before, haven’t we all, and you are probably wondering what is the big deal. But you have not tried them Brazilian style! These potatoes are ginormous and stuffed with all kinds of delicious items. My favorite is the batata recheada stroganoff. This delicious and rich treat is one of the best things you will ever eat and Oktoberfest in the Parque Villa Germanica in Blumenau knows how to make them the best!
7. The Weather
The weather in Brazil in October is amazing. It is spring and it’s not too hot and not cold. The temperature runs between 69 and 85 degrees fahrenheit this time of year. It’s still too cold for many Brazilians to go to the beach but for most foreigners it is perfect. The beaches are not crowded, and the water is a little cool but not freezing. I love October in Brazil!
8. The Beaches
This was the same week as Octoberfest – try that in Munich!
Yes, I am trying to convince you to come to Blumenau for Oktoberfest; however its close proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world makes it even more appealing! What better way to spend a week or two in Brazil than to enjoy a few nights of revelry at Oktoberfest and the beauty of the European Valley and then to head to some of the most pristine beaches, that are practically empty to relax, soak up some rays, and have a few more drinks. Where else can you party at one of the largest Oktoberfest’s in the world one day and lay out in your swimsuit at the beach the next?
9. The Beer
You can enjoy Oktoberfest even if you are not a beer drinker. If you don’t like beer try some of the wines local to Brazil and the famous Brazilian cocktail the Caipirinha (the greatest drink in the world!). For the non-drinkers out there, Brazil is known for having some of the best fresh juices in the world! That is another blog post though.
Back to the beer. The state of Santa Catarina is home to a lot of Germans and of course they brought with them their delicious brew. There are numerous microbreweries all over the state you can visit. In Blumenau you can visit Cervejaria Beirland–which is one of my favorite brews in Brazil, Cervejaria Sudbrack, Land Brauer, and Unser Bier. Also, want to make sure to give some love to our great, local brewery in Joinville Opa Bier. In Pomorode you can visit Cervejaria Schornstein which is also tasty! You can sample many beers in the Parque Villa Germanica while taking in all the German bands and folkloric dances. Oktoberfest is the perfect time to find your favorite Brazilian brew!
10. The Parades
Okay so I admit I have never been very impressed with some of the small town parades I have been to in the United States, so the idea of going to a parade when I could be drinking beer instead sounded like a boring idea. Wow was I wrong! Brazil and in particular the city of Blumenau knows how to throw a heck of a parade! Oh, and they serve beer everywhere and there is no such thing as an open container law in Brazil. In fact, when my husband Dale told a co-worker about the open container laws in the United States, his co-worker was appalled and it seemed like he didn’t believe that we can’t walk up and down the streets drinking beer legally. But in Brazil all of this is legal, and for the most part, other than a very drunk old and harmless man who kept trying to climb over the barriers to join in the parade, everyone was well behaved and enthusiastic.
The Oktoberfest parade was in fact one of the best parades I have ever attended! It was full of beautiful dancing men and women, children, sleeping babies being pulled in wagons while parents enjoyed a few beers, bicycles, fun German themed floats, a giant pig float, marching bands, lively music pumped from speakers on the floats, folkloric groups, hunting and shooting clubs, Oktoberfest royalty, and the list goes on and on. Everyone goes to the parade, both young and old. It is an appropriate setting for both families with young children and young adults who want to have a few beers to get into the party mood. The parade goers are also participants, singing and dancing along, catching trinkets thrown their way, as well as cheering for the people in the procession. The parade occurs every Wednesday at 7:30p.m. and every Saturday at 4:00 p.m. in downtown Blumenau. Attending the parade is a must!
So, I hope I have persuaded you to come to Brazil in October to experience the beautiful state of Santa Catarina and the amazing spin and fun Brazilians bring to Oktoberfest. I promise you will not be disappointed! I would love to hear any questions or comments you may have. Also, if you have any other suggestions for fun activities to try in the Blumenau area during Oktoberfest we would love to hear from you!
Blumenau is located in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Most foreign visitors fly into São Paulo or Curitiba. From there you can take a bus or flight. We often book our flights using decolar.com.
The big party is in the Parque Vila Germanica. The parade is located on Rua XV do Novembro street.
You may want to consider renting a car if you plan to visit the local beaches. If you do not want to drive you can also rent a car and driver by the day. Brazil has a zero tolerance law when it comes to drinking and driving. Oktoberfest has a safe house tent in which you can take a free breathalyzer test. If you fail the test free local rides are made available to you using a transit agent.
If you plan to go to Oktoberfest in Blumenau, be sure to book your accomodations at least six months early. Accomodations sell out well in advance. We use booking.com or decolar.com. If you cannot find lodging in Blumenau, consider staying in Balneário Camboriú, a beach city only 40 miles from Blumenau.
You can also buy tickets in advance and skip the long lines using the website.