Raise your stein to Teutonic tradition

THE historic German tradition that is Oktoberfest came to the borough last weekend with our very own annual version of the famous celebration pulling into Mizens Railway, off Knaphill’s Barrs Lane.

Oktoberfest, said to be the world’s largest fun-fair, is celebrated in the Bavarian city of Munich each year.

I’LL DRINK TO THAT– Oktoberfest at Mizens is a wonderful excuse to spend quality time with the family

I’LL DRINK TO THAT– Oktoberfest at Mizens is a wonderful excuse to spend quality time with the family

The 16-day festival runs from late September until the first weekend in October, and sees more than six million people flocking to it from all around the world.

It forms an important part of Bavarian culture and has been held since the very first event won over its audience in 1810.

Other cities around the globe also hold their own take on Oktoberfest modelled on the original, including our own home town.

Now in its seventh year, the Woking Oktoberfest has become a firm favourite with families in the area, and pulls in not just Surrey-based visitors, but people from all over the country, despite being on for just the one day.

The event is centred around a collection of fascinating vintage machinery such as mechanical showman’s organs and, of course, Mizens’ own tiny steam locomotives.

But it also brings a host of additional attractions, such as an olde-worlde children’s funfair complete with vintage carousel and traditional wooden swingboats – the latter had children hooting with delight and they kept coming back for more.

COME ON, DRIVER – the ‘Fat Controller’ is desperate to blow his whistle

COME ON, DRIVER – the ‘Fat Controller’ is desperate to blow his whistle

Less energetic folk took the leisurely option, letting the train take the strain while they took in the fabulous autumn colours of the surrounding woodland.

Just as ever, the famous Mizens miniature railway didn’t get a break all day, and there’s little doubt it was the star attraction.

An exhibition of fairground models proved a hit last year and certainly didn’t disappoint this time around, while the Brooklands Museum team brought a mobile display and fine exhibits from the Spirit of Brooklands vintage car collection.

As many as six old fairground organs played in various places around the Mizens site to keep up the day’s historic aura, and new to the show this year was a cluster of small ‘busker’ street organs belonging to the British Organ Grinders’ Association.

MERRY-GO-ROUND – they certainly don’t make them like they used to

MERRY-GO-ROUND – they certainly don’t make them like they used to

Other attractions included a small craft tent, the Chobham Country Farmers’ Market, various produce stalls and of course, the eternally popular beer tent, without which this simply would not have been Oktoberfest.

Nor would it have been right without the traditional festival snack of hot Bockwürst sausages!

Perfect.

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