It can attract the most eclectic crowd.
Bay Street men still in their suits clank plastic steins with university students while senior German men and women — dressed in traditional Bavarian lederhosen and dirndls — encourage them to dance.
It's all in the name of Oktoberfest, held for the first time in Toronto at St. Lawrence Market Oct. 4 and 5, and like the events in Munich, Germany and Kitchener, Ont., the festival was dedicated to beer and food.
Lineups for sausage and sauerkraut, doughy pretzels and mustard and candied roasted nuts were only a little bit shorter than the ones for beer, which included Erdinger Weissbrau and Weihenstephan among several others on tap.
If beer wasn't your thing, Bavarian bar maids were only too happy to pour a shot of Jagermeister down your throat. Justina Klein, Toronto Oktoberfest's show producer, said she set up the market's north building to look like a traditional Munich beer hall.
"You could be 22 and sitting next to a 60 year old," she said. "This is different than going to your local bar. Everyone is sharing in the tradition."
An estimated 1,000 people attended the event's first night and Klein said she's overwhelmed by the crowd's enthusiasm for the festivities. Up until this year, Kitchener, Ont., has been the place to be for Oktoberfest.
"Now they can still experience this traditional event and not have to drive a couple of hours."
Oktoberfest isn't the only event where drinking is the name of the game. We've rounded up a list of other festivals where libations are aplenty. What's the best festival you've ever attended? Leave us a note in the comments section below:
St. Patrick's Day
Everybody is Irish — and drinks green beer — on March 17 every year. While Ireland is obviously a great place to be, plenty of other cities do their part to celebrate the patron saint of the country.
Translated to Fat Tuesday, revellers spend the day, which usually falls around the end of February, eating, drinking, showing skin and getting into trouble before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent. New Orleans is the hotbed of Mardi Gras celebrations.
Related to Fat Tuesday, but done South American style, Carnival is a wild celebration of flesh and samba and everything excess that attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to Rio de Janeiro every year in February. It is also considered to be the final party before the season of Lent begins. What a way to go out in style.
The Yacht Week
Celebrated in Croatia, Greece, Italy and the Caribbean on — you guessed it — a yacht, the Yacht Week is the ultimate party for twentysomethings who want to explore the world with a few hundred kids their age. Sailings occur through the summer and winter seasons.
Sure, it's about dressing like a cowboy and attending the rodeo and chuckwagon races, but it's also about the partying. Held in July in Calgary, Alta., people who attend the 10-day festival typically need to give their liver a break when it's over.