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Atyrau checks out the taste of Oktoberfest

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German diaspora in Atyrau marked their traditional Oktoberfest fair of beer.

Ak Zhaik's Anastassiya Pastukhova attended the event to taste a real German beer, sausages and learn the secret of strong Bavarian girls.

At the entrance we were met by an orchestra playing cheering melodies and the smell of delicious fried sausages.

Around us were girls dressed in Bavarian outfit handing out huge pints of the foamy drink, and men walking in traditional Bavarian costumes notwithstanding the chilly September wind. 

Chairman of Atyrau's German association Wiedergeburt Alexander Doumler was dressed consistent with the occasion too. 

The origin of Oktoberfest dates back to October 12, 1810, when the Prince of Bavaria Ludwig and the Princess of Saxony Therese married. To the wedding were invited almost every citizen of Munich. The festivities took place at meadows beyond the city. In honour of the bride the meadows were named Theresienwiese, that means Therese's fairgrounds, the local colloquial name up to these days. By the end of celebration horse races were held. Ever since the fair is marked every year, as Mr Doumler explained. 

"Did you try the sausages already?" he asked me after the brief induction to Oktoberfest.

The sausages, by the way, were impeccable. Have no idea what they are made of in Munich, but these ones were made of chicken, horse meat and pork. Next to the roasters was standing a wooden beer cask, which later was opened in a solemn atmosphere by a great Oktoberfest enthusiast and the Honorary Consul of the Federative Republic of Germany to West Kazakhstan Peter Krieger. 

The consul appeared to be an oustanding person - he sang, played on pipe and laughed infectiously, what he kept general attention on his statuesque appearance throughout the event.

A bit later, I was given a chance to try playing on the pipe. My lungs, as it turned, were not capable of taking in as much air as needed and therefore I chose to skip my pathetic 'performance' in this article. But Mr Krieger tootled to that extent that half of Atyrau could hear him.

"Let me finish my pint and I'll give you an interview," he would say to journalists.

It took him nearly five minutes to finish a pint. Unlike others, he came here with his own clay mug, seemingly a one-liter one.

He told he has been living in Kazakhstan for over 25 years. Worked almost in every corner of the vast country he ended up here. He has special relations with West Kazakhstan.

"Business," he said and with a smile on face pretty quickly offered me, in his broken Russian, a deal - "I give you a dress. You promise you wear it three days and come to the festivaaal?"

Such are Germans...

The secret of Bavarian girls

While the consul was having beer, a German ethnic choir Veilchen (Violets) from Aktobe entertained the guests. The choir's art director Ravil Gaffarov is a fan of German culture and is the author of many of songs from the choir's repertoire.

"I love this culture since my early ages. My family lived near Aktobe in a small village Mikhailovka. In Soviet times, 80% of the population there were Germans. That's where I learnt the language and got to know the German culture and this fact guided me in my life. I organized a choir of 20 girls with excellent voice qualities. All of them are of different ethnicities and they love their trade, as I do," he says.

The guys indeed sang well. The visitors, drunk already, understood a few words, however actively tried to keep up with the girls.

One of the girls wearing a Bavarian dress agreed to pose for our photographer, but to a request to demonstrate the miracle of stamina - to carry as much mugs of beer in hands as possible - she refused. In Bavaria, they say, girls can carry 9 at once.

"I tried but failed. The thing is, they do it thanks to breasts of impressive volume," she unveiled the secret.

"Oktoberfest is a special holiday. It marks the end of all farming works. Beer flows like a river these days. By the way, it is stronger than normal beers. Another thing to say, it is not just a people's holiday, but a good platform for business. Germans like discussing things while having beer..." one of the event's sponsors Joseph Shmal told.

"It is the fourth time this festival is held in Atyrau. West Kazakhstan is a dynamically developing region and it has many German firms working. Besides, it is a home to some number of ethnic Germans. Therefore, it is already a good tradition established here, I can say," added Mr Doumler.



October 2 2013, 11:10

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