You call yourself beer lovers? Then you are not supposed to be unfamiliar with Oktoberfest, which is the largest folk festival in the world, held annually in Munich, Germany. This festival in the theme of beer begins in SeptemberQingdao International Beer Festival on a Saturday three weeks before the first Sunday of October and always includes October 3rd, German Unity Day. It’s believed by millions of persons that Oktoberfest is the perfect celebration to observe timeless traditions, meet people from all over the world, immerse yourself in new cultures, and eat, drink, and be merry in true Bavarian style. Although beer appears to be the main event of Oktoberfest, lots of visitors come for the many other attractions. If giant Ferris wheels, old-fashioned carousels, and wild roller coasters make your heart swoon, then Oktoberfest holds endless delights for you. Children particularly love the rides with fairytale heroes and spooky ghost trains.

Oktoberfest is indeed an amazing beer gala for us, but maybe it’s not so realistic to stay in Germany all year round if we’re not German citizens. Well, good news is that if you plan a China tour, the Qingdao International Beer Festival will give you a brand new experience of oriental beers and festivals. Let’s dig out more information about this Chinese first and biggest beer festival:

Q: Compared to Oktoberfest, what’s so special about Qingdao Beer Festival?

A: Qingdao is the largest beer production base in China and the Beer Festival provides a great opportunity to show-off the city’s unique characteristics. With its first beer festival taken place in 1991, Qingdao International Beer Festival is the largest beer festival in Asia with international breweries from all over the globe. It is now held once a year on the second weekend of August, and lasts for 16 days. As one of the most important festivals of China, it has a worldwide reputation and attracts millions of people to take part every year. In April of 2006 the festival was praised as the No.1 on the board of “Top Ten Festivals in China” in the Exhibition and Conference Annual Meeting of China.

The slogan for the Festival reads: “Qingdao-Ganbei (bottoms up) with the World!”, indicating the scale of the event. While the 195-year-old Munich Oktoberfest primarily focuses on local breweries, the Qingdao International Beer Festival is open to both Chinese and foreign groups. More than 100 beer brands from all over the world have successfully participated at the event over the past 22 years.

Q: Where to drink?

A: At Qingdao International Beer Town (No.195, Hong Kong East Road). The festival begins with the openingQingdao International Beer Festival ceremony in this town, followed by 16 days of beer tasting, evening entertainment and drinking competitions, concluding with the final ceremony from the second weekend of August. The area also contains a number of shops and restaurants, catering for a variety of tastes. In 2006, two other venues were added in an attempt to bring the celebrations to a wider audience. One is the Huiquan Plaza with beer tents and activities and the other is Dengzhoulu Beer Street where the Qingdao Beer Museum is located.

Q: Anything to do other than drink?

A: Absolutely! Every year during the festival, daily performances are given at the Beer Town’s Center Theatre, where colorful fountains, hi-tech laser shows and dramatic audio effects wow audiences. However, performances are not strictly limited to the town, with 200 such events taking place across the city. Whether walking on the roads, shopping in the local stores or even when catching a ride in a taxi, you will constantly hear people talking about the festival. It’s highly recommended that you sample the buzz on its streets for yourself. And it’s obvious to see that after 22 years of development, the Qingdao Beer Festival has become part of local people’s daily lives. The Beer Town is divided into north and south parts, respectively for comprehensive and entertainment uses. A big amusement park has been built up. There is a big square in the town, which is the permanent venue for the festival.

Q: How to participate?

A: Just take a Shangdong flights and come! Isn’t it simple?

RIGHT! Just come! You are always welcome in Qingdao!

Sandy Li
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