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Oktoberfest in August

By Mike Peters ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-08-30 07:23:02

Oktoberfest in August

People drink beer to their hearts' content during Beijing's second annual Oktoberfest in Beijing Olympic Forest Park. Zou Hong / China Daily

'Tis the season to make merry as the German beer flows in the Chinese capital.

One-two-three-four!

Oktoberfest in August

Pole dance at Qingdao Beer Festival 

Oktoberfest in August

Qingdao: The city that was built on beer

I never thought I'd be doing this in China.

The music is quick and lively, a happy little polka. Immediately I'm on my feet, along with my friend from Alabama, and we're holding our hands out at right angles, shaping them into bird beaks. One-two-three-four!

We make "chicken wings" with our arms on the next four beats, and suddenly our Chinese friends are on their feet, too. But they have not succumbed to the staccato lure of The Chicken Dance. They've simply grabbed their cellphones, eager to send off two dancing fools to Internet stardom.

This big giggle is unfolding at Beijing's second annual Oktoberfest, billed as the only such event sanctioned outside of Germany by the Munich Oktoberfest Committee.

That German city, known for launching the political career of a dour Austrian corporal with a signature mustache, has been most famously a tent city every autumn since 1810. When the tree leaves turn to gold, thousands gather for two weeks of sipping suds and sharing hearty German fare.

The happy times start in late September or early October in Munich, but the region's local oompah bands fan out worldwide for celebrations in the weeks before and after.

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