Kiwis longing to experience Germany’s world-renowned Oktoberfest can get a taste of the famous event closer to home this Labour Weekend, at one of New Zealand’s most authentic beer festivals.
The sixth annual Okere Falls Store Beer Fest (21st – 27th October) features the finest imported beers, Bavarian cuisine and live entertainment on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, near Rotorua and tickets go on sale this Sunday (1st September).
Okere Falls Store owner Sarah Uhl and her German-born husband Andi, host the colourful festival and every year recreate the exuberant atmosphere found at legendary German beer festivals such as Oktoberfest.
“We encourage people to dress up in theme and we have some great prizes for the best dressed,” Sarah says. “We also have a 30-piece traditional Oompah band performing over the weekend to set the scene.”
To add to the authentic experience a wide range of beers have been imported from Aktienbrauerei – a 700 year-old brewery in Kaufbeuren, Germany, where Andi hails from. Festival goers can enjoy traditional wheat beer, pilsner, radler or dark wheat beers. Artisan beers are also available from Rotorua’s award-winning Croucher Brewery, as well as Apple Tree cider.
A maximum of 400 people can fit into the Okere Falls Store beer garden each night, and tickets are expected to sell out quickly.
“We’ve built up a really strong following over the past six years and we’re always amazed at how many people travel from out of town to attend the event.
“We’ll be serving a range of delicious German food during the festival, including a Schweinshaxe pork roast which is a traditional Bavarian dish that sells out every year,” says Sarah.
In addition to the 30-piece Oompah band, a special live performance from local band Swamp Thing has been booked for the Saturday night.
“The atmosphere is always amazing and the Saturday night (October 26th) is guaranteed to be an absolute sell out. People of all ages can enjoy a really memorable Labour Weekend with family and friends and feel as though they’ve had an authentic German Beer Fest experience.”
Okere Falls Store is a surprising store-come-café renowned for its local produce, organic and gourmet artisan treats. It pays a nostalgic nod to the 1950s and is the perfect setting for a boutique beer festival focused on good beer and good food.
Tickets go on sale this Sunday (1st September) from the Okere Falls Store or the Library Store on Haupapa St, Rotorua. Those who live out of town can purchase tickets by phoning 07 362 4944 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry to the festival on 21st October through to 24th October is free, while Friday 25th October costs $15, and Saturday 26th October is $25 (which includes a traditional ceramic beer stein). If you wish to try a delicious Schweinshaxe pork roast, it’s advisable to book one ahead of time as this popular dish sells out fast.