Oktoberfest Celebrations in Latin America Canceled or Observed from Home due to COVID-19

Oktoberfest Peru will broadcast its festival on October 31, while Oktoberfest Mexico delivers packages until the end of the month.

. — By Vanessa Sam, Café Words

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru have managed to carry out their Oktoberfest celebrations year after year. However, their 2020 festival will suffer significant changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. German immigrants in Latin America began observing Oktoberfest as part of their heritage, and their celebrations earned great recognition worldwide. Thousands of foreigners travel to Valdivia (Chile), Lima (Peru), Córdoda (Argentina), CDMX (Mexico), or Blumenau (Brazil) to join the festival every year, but 2020 will bring a different story. 

Valdivia, Chile

Valdivia’s Bierfest celebration in Chile is tied to the descendants of German and Austrian immigrants who arrived in the mid-nineteenth century to this South American country. Chileans or tourists who join the festival can try different types of beer in the factories, especially in the Torobayo neighborhood, since 2003. At the festival, attendees can drink beer, have German food, and play traditional games. The four-day celebration resembles a carnival with the beer’s king and queen election as one of its peak moments.

Bierfest Kunstmann, the organization behind the festival, canceled its 2020 edition, which would have happened from January 30 through February 2.

Lima, Peru

Peruvians observe Oktoberfest in Lima since 1999. The Rincón Cervecero Alemán restaurant pioneered its celebration. Three years later, a group of beer fans founded an organizing committee for the party. With the support of two municipal governments, the municipal stadium, and a grocery store, they launched their first Oktoberfest in 2002. Ever since, during the four-day festival, attendees party while enjoying traditional German food, music, and dance. 

With important Austro-German communities, the towns of Pozuzo and Oxapampa celebrate Oktoberfest as well.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year, Oktoberfest-Peru will broadcast its festival on October 31. Attendees will join while enjoying Oktoberfest traditional food and beer packages that the organizing committee will have ready for pick up.
Córdoba, Argentina

German immigrants founded the town of Villa Belgrano in the Argentinian province of Córdoba in the 1930s. Its residents adopted the beer festival in 1963. The Municipality of Villa General Belgrano founded the National Festival Commission in 1984. Since then, it has been in charge of organizing Oktoberfest. Usually, the festival lasts 11 days, in which tourists from Argentina and abroad congregate to drink thousands of liters of beer, enjoy traditional German meals, and party. Elected during the festival, the National Queen of Beer plays an essential role in the celebration.

Due to COVID-19, the Municipality’s government canceled Villa Belgrano’s Oktoberfest for the first time in 57 years.

Mexico City, Mexico

Many waves of German immigrants have arrived in Mexico since the nineteenth century. Their descendants have been instrumental in developing the Mexican brewing industry. As a mark of their legacy, Mexicans still manufacture and consume Vienna-style beers. 

The German-Mexican community celebrates Oktoberfest every year since 1971. Oktoberfest happens in many cities, including Mexico City, Puebla, Cuernavaca, Cuautla, Mazatlán, Guadalajara, and Morelia, thanks to German producers and companies established throughout the country. 

Mexicans wishing to celebrate Oktoberfest, can purchase throughout October German food and beer packages and host small gatherings at their houses. The festival organizers will safely deliver the packages.

Blumenau, Brazil

Founded by Germans in 1850, Blumenau, Santa Catarina, Brazil, hosts one of the world’s largest Oktoberfest celebrations. Blumenau’s public authorities and business people created it in 1984. In its first year, Oktoberfest gathered more than 100 thousand people. Since then, the party has grown. Now, it hosts more than 500,000 people every year, according to the figures of the festival. For ten days, attendees to Blumenau’s Oktoberfest enjoy German music, food, and dances. There is a competition in which participants drink a liter of beer, avoiding spilling a drop. Whoever complies with this rule wins. However, the Municipality of Blumenau canceled the 2020 Oktoberfest celebration to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

(Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos.)