Germany’s fall season is waiting around the corner with vibrant colors and countless events. Here are five well-known and some lesser known highlights this season.
Cannstatter Volksfest, Stuttgart
Although the Volkfest is not strictly speaking a beer festival, it is considered by many to be the second largest beer festival in the world after the Munich Oktoberfest. According to estimates over four million people visit the festival (also called “Wasen” by locals) every year. All around the historical centerpiece of the harvest festival, the so-called “Fruchtsäule” (fruit column) – about 320 showmen, “beer tent landlords” and market traders will present a wide diversity of attractions.
Whether it’s the roller-coaster, the High Energy Carousel, dodgems or chairoplanes – modern fairground rides encounter popular classical rides on the Wasen. A festive mood with music and traditional food like sausages and pretzels is guaranteed in the decorated festival tents.
180th Octoberfest, Munich
When one thinks of Germany and festivals, Octoberfest is the first thing that comes to mind. It is a 16-day festival celebrating beer held every year in Munich. It is one of the most famous events in Germany and is actually considered the world’s largest fair. Think 6 million people around the world attending it.
Interestingly, Octoberfest starts in September and not in October. And they only serve beer that are brewed within the city limits of Munich and with a minimum of 6% alcohol by volume.
360th Weimar Onion Market, Weimar
The humble onion is the star of the Onion Market held in Weimar, in the federal state of Thuringia, every October. These are no ordinary onions lumped together in crates or sacks; these are onions plaited together in the traditional way and decorated with dried flowers of yellow, white or lilac. They come in all sizes too – from tiny ones to a whopping big one.
The Onion Market was first recorded in 1653 as a “market for beasts and onions” at a time in which Weimar could hardly boast a population of 5,000. From 1990 the Onion Market became a three-day event, now occupying the whole of the historic inner city. The number of visitors is given as 350,000 annually.
Berlin Jazzfest, Berlin
For nearly fifty years, Berlin in early November has been the capital city of jazz. Founded in 1964 the Berlin Jazz Festival is one of the longest running European festivals of international renown. Known as Berliner Jazztage (Jazz days) until 1980 it is currently curated by jazz publicist and -promoter Bert Noglik.
Whereas famous US-jazz celebrities set the tone during the first decades, the Berlin Jazz Festival increasingly has presented artists from all around the globe, with an increasing emphasis on contemporary European jazz. Presently residing at Haus der Berliner Festspiele, a 1000-seater theater the festival mostly draws capacity audiences.
597th Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim, Bad Dürkheim
Although this fair is called “Wurstmarkt” (sausage market), the folk festival is famous for its celebration of excellent local wines from along the German Wine Road. Located in the heart of Palatinate (west of Frankfurt), Germany’s second largest wine growing region, the Wurstmarkt prides itself in being the world’s biggest wine festival. The entertainment along with the wine is one of the distinctive features of the festival.
Whether in the large wine halls or at the traditional “Schubkärchler” (small traditional wine stands with scrubbed wooden tables worn smooth over the years) visitors can enjoy over 150 different wines in over 50 different places – from the mellow Riesling to the finest ice-wine. The culinary event has been celebrated every September for nearly 600 years, and what has started as a fair for local farmers and wine growers, attracts now more than 600,000 visitors annually.