Saturday, 11 October 2014


This annual Festival has only been popular around Canada since the late 1970's, I do not really remember such a German themed Festival in October before that date, unless it was a local festival in some communities of Ontario around Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford where there are substantial amounts of Canado-German families who have lived in the farmland area for generations. After all Kitchener only got that name at the time of the First World War, prior to that date it was Berlin, Ontario.

In Ottawa it is a weekend festival around 18-19 October with some Bavarian style bands, beer and sausages, but nothing like what you would see in German speaking countries where the festival runs for 6 weeks.

The Festival itself started at the time of King Ludwig I of Bavaria (1786-1868) not to be confused with the other Ludwig II who was deposed and drowned. So King Ludwig I married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810 to mark the happy day a great festival was organized in a Meadow named for her Theresienwiese. The festival has been held ever since every year and now attracts upwards of 6 million participants annually.

King Ludwig I of Bavaria

It is interesting to note that Germany has 1200 beer labels and very strict laws on what constitutes beer making, you cannot produce beer with ingredients like wheat or sugar per example and production is strictly regulated. Every region of the Old Holy Roman Empire produced beer and had it's own recipe, freshness being one of the key ingredients.

Of course with it goes Sausages and every German Town appears to have its own sausage recipe. From Berlin with its Curry Wurst to the Frankfurter Wurst, Munich's Weiss Wurst, to my favourite the Nuremberg Brat Wurst with the special spices that Nuremberg was able to obtain because of its link to Venice and the Oriental Trade routes.

The Curry Wurst of Berlin is a new addition to German Sausage Family, in 1946 the City had been devastated by war and on the verge of famine. A British soldier had bought a sausage from a street vendor and simply added curry powder to make the sausage more tasty. People noticed what he had done and in no time at all a new sausage was born.

The Frankfurter Wurst is a thin pure pork sausage in Mutton Casing originated at the great Coronation Banquet given for the Coronation of Charlemagne, a whole Ox was stuffed with sausage and roasted and served to the guests, it was a success. Today the Frankfurter is known as the lowly hotdog.

The Nuremberg Sausage dates of the early Renaissance period around 1350, it is usually 5 to 9 cm long and weighs about 20 gr. More than 3 million sausages are produced daily and exported around the world. Goethe loved them and while he lived in Weimar would have packages sent to him from a supplier. It is served with horseradish and potato salad.

But there is also other sausage recipes and favourites like the Thuringer, Sonnenberger, Coburger, Frankishe, Kumbacher, Hofer, Westfalishe, Nordhessische, Pfalzer, Rote Wurst, Sulzfelder and St-Galler, what a choice.

Beer and Sausages define German character and culture, it was Tacitus who noted that German Tribes drank prodigious amounts of beer each day. It was Bismarck who said that there are two things people do not want to know, one is how Laws are made and the other Sausages.



  1. So many beers; so little time.
    I think next year I will drink more german beer and less rubbish.

    1. Don't forget the sausages. Nothing like a nice sausage or two.

    2. I wonder if they are as diverse as the bier?

    3. I tried quite a few and yes they are different in taste.

  2. I had never even heard of Oktoberfest until my freshman year at university (because, I guess, that's when I started to drink beer). Since then, I haven't attended even one celebration (but I don't know why.... I still drink beer).

    1. Well then you should plan to visit Munich during the festival and have a nice sausage with a beer.

  3. I had my days drinking beer. I loved it. Those days are behind me so I will have a sausage please.