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Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano, Argentina

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Villa General Belgrano Centro

Villa General Belgrano Centro

Roberto Ingeldew

Oktoberfest!:

Oktoberfest!

If you’re in Villa General Belgrano at the end of September and beginning of October, you’ll find yourself surrounded by people in lederhosen and national costumes, German music, food and beer. Lots of beer.

This is Oktoberfest, Argentine style.

The Fiesta Nacional de la Cerveza began as a local celebration in the 1960’s, but in 1980 became a national event.

Over eleven days, parades, bands, beer tasting, dance exhibitions, beer tasting, eating, beer drinking, and crowning of the Queen of Oktoberfest, this is a huge, international celebration.

Music and dance groups from Europe, other Latin American countries, even Arabia entertain the crowds. Several of the days are designated, such as Swiss/Argentine/Germanic, Italian/Argentine/Germanic and Hispanic/Argentine/Germanic when the program is dedicated to the beer and cultures of those countries.

Other days are a mix of cultural influences, with music and dance performances by international groups from Greece, Croatia, Scotland, Ireland, Lithuania and other countries, all wearing national costumes, as well as Argentine groups.
Most of the events take place in the biergarten in the Parque Cervecero, with the multiple local breweries in the area displaying their products along with international beers. Crowds gather for the ceremonial tapping of the first barrel of beer, with spray and foam flying high and drenching the nearest watchers. See this photo gallery of previous Oktoberfests for an idea of the costumes and revelry.

Why Oktoberfest in Villa General Belgrano?:

The Valle de Calamuchita, Calamuchita Valley, is in a region of tall mountains, rushing rivers and great lakes, an agricultural area where at the beginning of the 20th century, local farmers already enjoyed the climate and fertile soil in a place they called El Sauce.

This area attracted the attention of immigrants from Central Europe, primarily from Germany, and particularly of Peter Heintze who in 1929 was looking for a place to set up an agricultural cooperative.

He wanted to form this cooperative along the lines of those he'd known in his native Germany. With others agreeing to the model, they bought land, sub-divided it and settled in the valley.

With the help of Jorge Kappuhn in Buenos Aires spreading the word, by the early 1930's other settlers had joined them, and the making of a German community was underway. Bringing their culture, music, language, cuisine and customs with them, they formed the agricultural cooperative.

However, weather and conditions worked against them, yet they didn't leave. The scenic valley and the Germanic traditions made the new community a vacation spot for other German speaking families. Some stayed to farm, others returned, bringing tourism to the area. Sailors from the Graf Spee sought refuge here, and the community grew again.

The community looked like a typical Germanic village with red-roofed wooden houses, people wearing traditional clothing, music and cuisine.

Artisans and festive events carried on the Central European customs.

Following the burning of the Argentine flag, blamed on the Graf Spee sailors, the community took the name of Villa General Belgrano, honoring the man who created the Argentine flag. Since October 12 was already a holiday, Día de la Raza , they took October 11, 1932 as their Foundation Day so they could celebrate on the 11th and rest on the 12th.

Villa General Belgano grew and in the 1950's, the celebration of the paving of the main street coincided with the Foundation Day festivities and thus the event now known as Oktoberfest was born.

Today, Oktoberfest attracts thousands of visitors who come to enjoy the beer, the climate, the festivities and a bit of old Germany in modern-day Argentina.

About General Villa General Belgrano:

Check flights from your area to Buenos Aires or other locations in Argentina.

Getting to General Villa General Belgrano is easy by road from Córdoba, in Córdoba province, where you can fly in from Buenos Aires. ¿Cómo llegar? has the details. Orient yourself with this interactive map from Expedia.

Oktoberfest isn't the only reason to visit. There's also the Fiesta del Chocolate Alpino, Fiesta Nacional de la Masa Vienesa, and the Fiesta en Restaurantes y Confiterías de Villa General Belgrano, the Fiesta del Goloso or sweet tooth. The Christmas celebrations or Feria Navideña is popular with children and adult alike.

If these aren't enough, there's natural attractions in the rivers and at Lago Los Molinos to work off those calories. See this map for locations and links to beaches and sport activities.

There are more activities, with photos, listed on Villla General Belgrano, including the spa at Armonias del Río.

If you have questions or comments about Villa General Belgrano or Oktoberfest, post them on the South America for Visitors Forum. If you're not already a registered user, you'll need to register, but it is easy and free.

Buen viaje!

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