The Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC), along with its partners, has organised the 11th Okoberfest in the city from October 26 to 28. IGCC Regional Director Natascha Lewandowski speaks to Shirish Shinde about its significance and the background of the fest in Pune.
What is the significance of Oktoberfest in Germany?
In 1810, a large scale horse racing event was held in Munich to celebrate the newlywed royal couple, which set the milestone for the original Oktoberfest. Today, it is the world’s largest folk festival celebrating Bavarian traditions over two weeks. It takes place in the last week of September and the first week of October with around six million visitors every year.
Why does IGCC celebrate it in Pune? Since when has it been celebrated?
The IGCC started the first Oktoberfest in Pune in 2008. Hence, we are celebrating the 11th edition this year. Around 450 German companies are located in and around Pune, which makes the city the biggest hub of German companies in India. But the idea is not only to bring a German tradition to Pune and Mumbai to make our German members feel homely but also to connect with our Indian guests and to enjoy and to celebrate together. Additionally, we give our German and Indian members the opportunity to spend a memorable time with their families, business partners and employees.
How has the response been of local citizens and German expats to the fest?
Our guests are not only local citizens and German expats, but in fact, join from across India and other countries. Last year, around 7,000 people came during our 3-day of Oktoberfest at RWITC. People have been making enquiries for the past six months with us about Oktoberfest. I think that is a very good sign that they enjoy our festival. It will be my first Oktoberfest since I joined IGCC. I am already very excited and looking forward to welcome our guests.
What will be the highlights of this year’s Oktoberfest?
We will offer German and Indian delicacies, games and more. We are happy that this year also the Oktoberfest band will play live music and rock the stage. Moreover, our venue is a really special location as it gives our guests the opportunity to watch exciting horse racing during the day.
Do you have any personal memory of having attended one in Munich?
I come from Berlin, where Oktoberfest is not a tradition. However, nowadays, it is celebrated there too. Nevertheless, I got my first Dirndl (traditional dress) and attended my first Oktoberfest here in Pune only last year (2017) joining as a guest. I, along with my amazing team (the organiser of the IGCC Oktoberfest), will play host this year. It will take place from October 26 to 28 at RWITC Race Course. Tickets are available online at Book My Show.