Friday 24 September 2010

Oktoberfest Traditions Travel Two Centuries and 12,000 kilometres to Australia's Outback

A TINY outback Australian town, more than 12,000 kilometres from Germany, will host its own Oktoberfest 200 years to the day since the now world-famous festival was first held in Munich on October 18, 1810.

Jundah - population 68 - is preparing to party Bavarian-style and people are driving and flying hundreds, even thousands of kilometres to join the celebrations.

Time to oompah in the Outback

GRAB your leather duds and braces, dust off the felt hat, snip some goat hair and charge your stein. Oktoberfest is on its way to the outback!

Travellers passing through Jundah on Monday October 18 will wonder if they have somehow been transported from the bush to Bavaria as the tiny town hosts its inaugural Jundah Outback Oktoberfest Bier Festival.

The historic event will exactly mark the 200th anniversary of Germany's renowned Oktoberfest which began as a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig 1 and Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen.

Launched as part of the 2010 Angel Flight Outback Trailblazer fundraising trek through central western Queensland (October 17 - 23), the Jundah Oktoberfest is expected to attract festival goers from throughout the Barcoo Shire and beyond.

With German language street signs, locals dressed in German costume and Big Helga and Erdinger beer flowing at the Jundah Hotel, it promises a party worthy of the famed European event.
Authentic oompah-pah band, Rudi and the Continentals, is even being flown in fresh from appearances at Brisbane's German Club.

Barcoo Shire 'Burgormeister' (Mayor) Bruce Scott said it all began when a town meeting was called earlier this year to discuss how Jundah might contribute to the annual Trailblazer fundraiser for volunteer remote area medical transport organisation, Angel Flight Australia.
"Virtually the entire population of Jundah turned out and threw their support behind the idea proposed by Trailblazer event manager, Lance Smith," Mr Scott said.

"They had been involved in the extremely successful inaugural Angel Flight Outback Trailblazer in 2009 and were really keen to expand Jundah's participation into something for the whole district, something everyone could enjoy."

Keen backers include Jundah Hotel proprietor, Monique Rayment, who is providing the venue and catering, and general store owner, Katarina Zelenko, who brings direct insight because of her European heritage.

Jundah State School principal Joanne Coyne is even helping her excited pupils prepare for a special festival performance ... singing in German!

Trailblazer event manager, Lance Smith AM, said he was blown away by the support and enthusiasm of the Barcoo Shire community.

"This will be a fantastic event for the 'outback angels' participating in Trailblazer and tremendous fun for the whole community.

"To help everyone get into the spirit of the Outback Oktoberfest, we are running a special costume competition."

Mr Smith has invited all comers to dress in German costume for the chance to win an authentic Bavarian cuckoo clock.

The action-packed 2010 Angel Flight Outback Trailblazer adventure which will see a convoy of more than 50 fundraising teams in 4WDs cover thousands of kilometres in the central west from October 17 to 23.

As well as Jundah's 'oompah' Okterberfest, their trek will take in raft races on Muttaburra's Broadwater, yabbie races at Aramac and dining with the dinosaurs on a Winton plateau.

Established in 2003, Angel Flight co-ordinates free non-emergency flights for financially and medically needy people to assist patients, family and carers travelling to and from medical appointments anywhere in Australia.

Volunteer pilot 'angels', who donate their time, skills, aircraft and the bulk of their costs, have so far flown more than 8000 missions helping over 1800 people.

For further information about 2010 Trailblazer nominations and public event tickets, visit, or call Andrea Lingard at Barcaldine Regional Council, telephone 07 4651 5600.

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