October in Penang means it is time for Oktoberfest! For more than 40 years the Malaysian German Society (MGS) in Penang has held a true Munich-style Oktoberfest, and it is now a cultural highlight of the Penang calendar. Year after year it has become so popular that it is now held on two consecutive nights in October. In 2018, the dates are Friday 19th October and Saturday 20th October.
MGS flies a Bavarian band from South Germany to Penang to entertain the thousands of guests that attend with classic “oompah” music as well as pop and rock songs to entice people onto the dance floor. As the evening wears on, the atmosphere of the singing and dancing crowd becomes truly intoxicating. The Germans of Penang sport their lederhosen and dirndls (traditional Bavarian dress), but the majority of the crowd is made up of wildly enthusiastic local Penangites, many of whom also dress up in German attire for the occasion.
Authentic German food and beer are served in a true Oktoberfest atmosphere, under a decorated marquee in the grounds of MGS’s headquarters, a bungalow on Jalan Air Itam, sitting on benches at long traditional beer garden tables.
Most years, there are a few original Oktoberfest beers and a variety of local and international brands. Penang’s cafés and restaurants pull out the stops, setting up stalls inside the marquee to sell German specialities such as sausages, meatloaf, sauerkraut, pretzels and more. Local dishes and pork-free food are also provided as well as non-alcoholic drinks.
Traditional German games and entertainment for both adults and children that are fun to participate in and hilarious to watch, punctuate the evening, and everyone gets into the spirit. By the end of the evening, the large dance floor is usually packed.
Oktoberfest takes place this year on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th October, from 7pm until late. Tickets are on sale at the MGS office, at 250 B, Jalan Air Itam, and at a handful of other locations in Penang. To check on these call 04-229 6853. Tickets cost RM 30 per person if bought in advance, and RM 35 on the night itself, from 6pm onwards.