Not your ordinary German FESTs
If you are fortunate to live in Stuttgart, like me, we celebrate two traditional beer fests a year, the Frühlingsfest in the spring and the Canstatter Fest in the fall.
Ordinarily, for most people living in Germany, going to “FEST,” is a lot of fun. We buy traditional clothing like the “Drindl” (ladie’s dress) and “Lederhosen” for the men and dress up. Party-goers reserve lots of seats at long festive tables. Tickets usually come with food and beer, a half roasted chicken/pommes (french fries) and a few “MASS’s (large glasses of beer-1 Liter)
There are carnival rides, fair foods, dancing on tables, and lots of laughter. If you aren’t able to get a table inside a tent, it’s o.k. you can still walk the fair grounds and sit at outdoor tables and have just as much fun. Click on this LINK for more information on purchasing tickets and more.
However, this weekend, I went to two FESTs/Festivals that were definitely out-of-the-ordinary!
1) Wackershofen Bakery Oven Fest
First off, this past Friday with a few curious wanderers we investigated and researched the Hohenloher Freiland Museum near Schwäbisch Hall. This open air living history museum is AWESOME! It is a small village of houses and buildings built between the 1600’s and 1800’s that tell a story about the town’s history. They also have pigs, cows, ducks and more, super cool! I use to work at a living history museum in Huntsville, Alabama, Burritt on the Mountain, so these fun parks and educational museums will always have a special place in my heart.
On our walk through the village, we met several workers who invited us back for the weekend to celebrate the “Bakery Oven Festival.” We found out this is one of the largest and most important festivals of this part of Franconian Württemberg.
Dragging my poor Jon and Jessica along we came back the next day. I just had to discover what “Blooz” was, see all the bakers and watch some Swabian dancers!
Blooz is similar to “Flammkuchen,” however the crust is thicker yet similar toppings. Once they are rolled out they are put on a big wooden pallet and gently put in the stoked-very hot oven. They smell delicious!
At the museum on normal days, you can visit, the restaurant, Gasthof Red Ox (Gasthof Roter Ochsen) ask for Christiana, she use to live in San Francisco and she loved finding out where we were all from in the States. On Friday, I had a vegetarian lentil burger with sauteed summer vegetables that was beautifully displayed in a cumin spicy sauce. Just look!
However, Saturday at the festival, we enjoyed pork steak sandwiches and bratwurst on a bun. There pommes (more like fried potatoes) were quite tasty too! You can split them though…think huge portions. After our full bellies we headed out for a walk around the grounds and through the orchards to the church on the hill.
Another truly fascinating discovery about Wackershofen is that it was also a site for one of Hitler’s youth camps so the sad story of lives forever changed are throughout the museum as well. Remnants of the simple lives lived here and the history of this small village is shown throughout the museum.
The festivities included…
- €16/family ticket
- World War II exhibits
- A flea market and artisan fair
- Kiddie carnival rides
- A cattle drive, pig pen and duck ponds
- Lots of food booths of regional delicacies, and
- Several stages with traditional dancers and music. Lots of fun!
One of the things I notice when traveling this season is how the dress/drindl is different in every part of Germany. I’m so happy we stumbled upon this opportunity as these “country folks” were my kind of people.
2) Zwiefalten Historical Bierfest
I have to confess, I found out about the Zwieflater Klosterbräu Historical BierFEST last year but like I said, “picking and choosing is so hard!” But this year, after seeing the beautiful Münster/Church this summer I knew I would be back to the incredible Swabian Alb town. We decided to dress up and join the crowd who were celebrating BEER!
This authentic, creative FEST might be one of my favorites yet. It begins with the story of Benedict, the boy who would become a Monk who created the successful recipe for the Zwiefalter Klosterbrau. The pageant play was spectacular, with over a hundred different actors/actresses performing, the MC had the coolest voice. As you can see from the video it was unbelievable!
Here are some tips for you to remember when visiting local FESTS!
- Arrive early, we left about 9:30 and arrived about 11 a.m. Most of the festivities began around then.
- Our parking spot was great! Most businesses are closed on Sunday, so parking typically is not a big issue.
- Our Zwiefalter Klosterbrauhaus tour was FREE! The tour was in German but it was understandable and we all received a FREE glass with beer in it!
- Tours were every 15 min. and we did have to pick up time tickets for our group
- We made the Historic Bierfest Re-enactment at 2 p.m./1400 (€8/person ticket) Absolutely, unforgettable!
- FEST tent with live music – entrance was FREE with plenty of seating! Great meal choices and desserts, we enjoyed some Radler’s (lemonade and beer) and a MASS for the non-drivers!
So you may have missed these great local FESTS! Don’t fret, the season is still early. I promise, you will stumble on some more. If you do? Share them with me! I’m always up for an adventure!
A word of caution – construction is also in full season this time of year and MOTORCYCLISTs are enjoying the weather, if you are driving to a Fest/Festival watch out for both of these.
Remember most of the time, you can take a Schönes-Wochenende Ticket (Good weekend ticket) to most of these towns/regions for a very inexpensive family fare!
Whether it’s a seasonal fest celebrating apples, pumpkins or cabbages or wine or beer FEST, whatever your fancy, I hope you enjoy one OR many this fall!
Here is a little bit more information about other FESTS/Festivals coming up!
- German Grape Harvest Festival – Sept 30 – October 10, Neustadt an der Weinstraße
- Mössinger AppleFest – October 2, 2016 11 to 5 pm, Mössingen
- Filderkraut Cabbage Festival – October 14 – 16, Filderstadt