Every October, in Villa General Belgrano, a city of Cordoba, they celebrate the National Beer Festival, also called Oktoberfest, and it is celebrated as if one were really in Germany.
This festival was born 60 years ago and was created thanks to the European families who settled in the city of Villa General Belgrano, bringing with them their customs, culture and gastronomy, among other things. Among these families, the majority were Germans, followed by the Swiss, Austrians, Hungarians, French and Italians.
This year, they celebrated the 60th anniversary of the festival, which took place the first two weekends of October, taking advantage of the fact that the last weekend was a four-day weekend thanks to the Day of Cultural Diversity holiday, celebrated in Argentina.
The festivities start very early in the morning on the main street of the city. They close the street, and it becomes a pedestrian walkway, for the greater safety and enjoyment of the event. Along the main street, all the establishments, both gastronomic and clothing, are open to the public selling craft beers, beer steins of different sizes, T-shirts and even headbands with the colors of the German flag. At 12:30 p.m., the great parade of the European communities that inhabit the area begins. It starts at one end of the main street and works its way up until it reaches the entrance to the festival venue. The parade is always led by the German community as it is in charge of carrying out the event, followed by the other communities. People dress up in their traditional country’s costumes, some dancing and singing to traditional songs as they walk along the parade, sipping beer, waving and celebrating the moment.
Inside the venue, you can also order typical German food, such as a bun with sausage stuffed with cheese and bacon with sauerkraut on top, a mix of smoked sausages with sauerkraut and potato salad, or even mozzarella sticks. There are shows to enjoy throughout the day that take place on two stages. They have traditional dances, live musicians and DJs. The long-awaited moment of the afternoon is the "espiche" which consists of breaking a giant barrel full of beer on the main stage. When it breaks, beer rains out towards the audience and people raise their steins and glasses to try to fill them with the pouring beer. The party continues into the small hours of the morning, ending around 4am.
It is a very nice event that is usually enjoyed by all ages. From families with their young children to older adults, they all come to enjoy the festivities. Later in the night, there is a shift in the age of the crowd, most of them being between 20 to 40 years of age, who celebrate with their friends. Many bachelor parties are held there. Most of them come from other provinces with the expectation of celebrating the event with their friends and drinking beer.
It is a very popular festival in Argentina and highly anticipated by many. Rentals for the city's cabins and campsites always sell out quickly and there is heavy traffic to the city.
By Marina Chauffaille