THE organisers of the first Bendigo Beer Oktoberfest celebrations have been surprised by its popularity.
At least 2000 people attended Saturday’s event at Lords Raceway with many decked out in Lederhosen and other traditional German attire.
Justin McPhail said organisers had stocked the venue with about 7,500 litres of beer from local brewers and pilsener imported from Austria, with most patrons drinking from litre steins.
“It’s a traditional Bavarian-style Oktoberfest,” he said.
“It’s a celebration of beer, food and culture.
“We’ve brewed our own beer for it and we’ve got beer from around the central Victorian region.”
Mr McPhail said the event had started with a party and grown into something much bigger.
“Nick Horgan, who’s part of the Bendigo Beer committee, his sister did some marketing for his birthday,” Mr McPhail said.
“We just thought, this is a celebration with 20 people, why can’t we do this for 2,000 people?
“Bendigo Beer hasn’t run an event larger than 500 people before.
“We’ve been overwhelmed with the turnout.
"It's a bigger turnout than expected and it's certainly been helped out by good weather."
Lines for beer and food – which included pork knuckle, currywurst & bratwurst – stretched up to 100 metres.
“It’s been fantastic,” Mr McPhail said.