Blumenau isn't the only city in Santa Catarina that was founded by German immigrants who transplanted their beer-brewing expertise and their taste for Alpine architecture to South America. But it is the best known, thanks in part to its uninhibited, over-the-top Oktoberfest. The annual beer-drinking extravaganza is among Brazil’s largest street parties, second only to Carnaval in Rio.
Oktoberfest is what makes Blumenau famous, but it is not what makes the city German. Throughout the historic city center, the architecture is dominated by Germanic themes. Local restaurants specialize in eisbein (cured ham hock) and kassler (smoked pork chop), and numerous beer brands are brewed locally. Most telling, perhaps, is the tall, fair population, many of whom still speak German in their homes.