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Oktoberfest is cancelled in Venezuela’s German alpine village

RJ Castillo | CC BY-SA 3.0

Zelda Caldwell - published on 09/19/17

Settled by Bavarian immigrants in the 19th century, La Colonia Tovar is a little bit of Germany surrounded by cloud forest.

A lost traveler happening upon the Venezuelan town of La Colonia Tovar, in the central coastal mountains of Venezuela, might be excused for mistaking himself in an alpine village in Germany.

Enzo861 | CC-BY-SA-3.0

When the first German immigrants settled in Venezuela in 1843, they tried to make themselves at home by recreating the culture they had left. To this day, the town bears a decidedly Bavarian appearance. The streets are dotted with distinctive white plaster and wood-framed chalets, more in the style of Hansel and Gretel than hacienda.

Ricardoricardo | CC BY-SA 3.0

The town’s restaurants serve German specialties, and are famous for their sausages and desserts such as strudel, gugelhupf and Black Forest cake. The Tovar Brewery arrived as soon as the town’s founders did, and still meets the standards required by the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516.

The Catholic Church of St. Martin of Tours stands at the center of town and is modeled after the Church of St. Martin in Endingen, where the founders were from.

RJ Castillo | CC BY-SA 3.0

And every year since 1970 the town has held its own Oktoberfest in September and October. Tourists from around the world descend upon the town of 10,000 to sample German beer, food and music at the festival, sponsored by   the embassy of Germany and Poland, and the German-speaking Catholic community.

Pankoroku | CC BY-SA 3.0

Sadly, this year, as the country reels from economic and political instability under the repressive Maduro regime, organizers were forced to cancel the festival. The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional reported “it is presumed that the reasons why it was suspended is due to the situation in the country and, of course, the difficult organization with the constant increase of prices and the obtaining of the raw material.”

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