It’s easy to sneer, but tourists from São Paulo are impressed by Blumenau’s old-world atmosphere and visit in large numbers, especially during the annual Oktoberfest (47/3326-6901, www.oktoberfestblumenau.com.br). Held, since 1984, over eighteen days in October, besides vast quantities of beer and German food, the main event attractions are the local and visiting German bands and German folk-dance troupes. Performances take place at PROEB, Blumenau’s exhibition centre, located on the city’s outskirts (frequent buses run during the festival period), as well as in the downtown streets and the central Biergarten. So successful has the Oktoberfest been in drawing visitors to Blumenau – a million people attended the festivities during its peak year in 1992 – that the city’s authorities realized that the event’s local flavour had been swamped by outsiders, and consequently they have halved attendance.

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