Every year Qingdao hosts Asia’s Largest Beer Festival (青岛国际啤酒节), sometimes referred to as Asia’s Oktoberfest. Festivities usually begin early August with a Grand Opening Ceremony Parade on Saturday, preceded by an Opening Ceremony Concert on Friday night. It concludes with a “Cheers to the World” (GānBēi 干杯) and Closing Ceremony.
While the 200+ year old Munich Oktoberfest primarily focuses on local breweries, the Qingdao International Beer Festival (青岛国际啤酒节) is open to both Chinese and foreign brew masters. Since its inauguration, more than 200 beer brands from all over the world have successfully participated. The Beer Fest lasts for 16 days with themed events in an amusement park setting located at TsingTao Beer Passion Square (Century Plaza) in Qingdao’s Laoshan District accross from the convention center. Qingdao is the largest beer production base in China and the Beer Festival provides a great opportunity to show-off the city’s distinctiveness.
The celebration started in 1991 as a 100th birthday celebration for the city. These first festivities took place in ZhongShan Park, across the street from TianTai Stadium on WenDeng Road. With Fei Fei the dolphin as the original mascot and more than 40 breweries from around the globe (Japan, the United States, Canada, Singapore and Germany) showcasing their brews at this inaugural bash it is no wonder that the annual event grew in popularity to become Asia’s largest beer festival. In subsequent years, the Qingdao Beer Festival (青岛国际啤酒节) moved to HuiQuan Square and finally Beer City in 1996. In 2012, the festivities moved once again to Tsingtao Beer Passion Square (青岛啤酒激情广场), also known as Qingdao Century Square (青岛世纪广场). Satellite festivities take place throughout the Sailing City.