Oktoberfest is to take place in Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, according to German media reports on Thursday.
The plan is to move the world’s largest folk festival to an area of around 420,000 square meters near the Dubai Marina, Berlin Christmas market boss Charles Blume, who is one of the organisers, told Spiegel.
Blume said Dubai officials had given the festival the green light.
German daily Bild reported that Dubai’s Oktoberfest would start on October 7th at 12noon in 32 tents – and then last for six months until March 31st 2022 – that’s far longer than the original Munich event which lasts around 16 days.
Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pamela Anderson and Lothar Matthäus are to be flown in as guests, Bild said, although this hasn’t been confirmed.
The estimated cost for the event is reportedly around €50 million. As well as Blume, the Munich ex-restaurateur Dirk Ippen and host Sepp Krätz played a key role in developing the plan, said Bild.
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Even if the location is unusual compared to Munich’s Wiesn, the event would be strongly based on the original.
Beer tents, restaurants, as well as carousels and sales stands that resemble the traditional festival are all planned. Brewers and innkeepers would also be flown in from Bavaria.
The organiser, however, emphasises that the event in Dubai wouldn’t be “just another Oktoberfest double”, but bigger and more international than Munich’s.
The aim is to achieve this with numerous types of beer, the longest beer bar as well as 620 entertainers and businesses.
The alcohol ban in the UAE would not apply to the Oktoberfest or the event area. Spiegel reported that people who’ve been drinking would be transported to their hotels in shuttle buses to respect the culture and rules.
Organisers are reportedly putting together a detailed hygiene and safety plan to ensure the safety of guests and workers in the pandemic.
Will Oktoberfest be cancelled in Munich in 2021?
As The Local reported, it is still unclear if Oktoberfest will go ahead in Munich this year due to the pandemic. Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter said the cancellation is looking increasingly likely due to the current infection situation and restrictions.
However, if it does happen it is planned that it will kick off on September 18th and will last until October 3rd.
In 2020 a scaled back celebration took place in some bars and restaurants in Munich to mark Oktoberfest but it was nowhere near as huge as the original which is world-renowned and rakes in billions of euros.