Namhae, a gorgeous island of the southern coast off South Korea hosts a German Oktoberfest every year. We arrived in the wee hours of the morning after enjoying Jinju’s lantern festival and I happily awoke to a beautiful harbor with some adorable graffiti painted along the wavebreaks.
Traditional German red rooftops reminded me of my grandmother’s hometown Dahn, a quaint German village tucked into the south-eastern Bavarian hills. Namhae’s German Village mimicked the German style after an influx of immigrants turned it from touristic to authentic.
Before the parade began we happily joined some German men for a barbecue in their backyard. Homemade brats and buns were certainly a highlight of the day, second only to the ongoing party at the top of the hill.
We followed a Korean parade paying homage to their German neighbors with costumes and music happily entertaining us all. The festivities continued at the peak in a courtyard filled with flavors of Oktoberfest. There were 3 different Hofbrauhaus brews, Maisel Weiss, Bitburger and more on tap.
The handful of wursts to pick from kept our stomachs satisfied as the stage showed more homage to Oktoberfest in a way that only Korea could pull off. Youth Taekwondo stars took the stage in a dazzling mixture of combat and dance culminating in a Michael Jackson skit that stole the hearts of all.
We were serenaded by a Korean 5 piece oom-pa-pa band that switched between jazz, German tunes and pleasing the crowd with a wide range of Beatles songs. A salsa duo dazzled us before the evening got back to its German roots with a German exchange student playing the accordion. Peter, the accordionist, got everyone dancing gleefully as the party continued late into the evening.