By Ethan Craig
As I think back to some of the stories I have written over the past year, I recall sharing my travels to Germany in 2016 when I experienced Oktoberfest first-hand. Stop by Tap & Six sometime, and I’ll tell you a few of the crazy stories. For anyone taking notes, you may remember that Oktoberfest is a two-week long tradition celebrated mostly in September. The festival starts in September and runs through the first Sunday in October. This year, the celebration is September 21 – October 6 in Munich, and over 7,000,000 people are expected to attend. The closing ceremony is akin to New Year’s Eve on steroids with over 10,000 people partying under one tent. Yes, literally… one massive tent.
But while Oktoberfest is world renowned, there is another celebration that overlaps with it that I had never heard of before. German Unity Day is observed on October 3 as a national holiday in (you guessed it) Germany. I recently met with a representative of the Goethe-Zentrum Atlanta, also known as the German Cultural Center, to learn more about it.
Tag der Deutschen Einheit observes the anniversary of German Reunification in 1990, when the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) were unified. This was the first time since 1945 that Germany was one nation. This was not long after the Berlin Wall came down, and a treaty was signed designating October 3 as the official holiday.
On this day, German inhabitants celebrate at festivals that offer various stages hosting live bands and stands selling food, drinks, and sweets. There’s always a big party centered right at the Brandenburg Gate.
Every year, a different German city hosts the national celebrations. Berlin always puts on a great big show called Bürgerfest that lasts for several days. Kiel, Germany is the host this year. Kiel is a beautiful Baltic city that is about twice the size of Roswell. In partnership with the German Cultural Center, Tap & Six is excited to host Atlanta’s celebration of German Unity Day this year on October 3.
We will be tapping 10 different German beers, as well as serving authentic German food (like bretzel and bratwurst). And by the way, we will also be holding Roswell’s largest Oktoberfest celebration October 4 – 6. We hope you’ll join us as we raise a glass of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier. Cheers to unity!
Ethan Craig is Craft Beer Curator at Tap & Six Craft Beer House, a craft beer market and bar in Historic Roswell at 23 Oak Street.