Chilly thrills and spills on the slopes, a night of musical melding, a live nativity, steamy Latin cinema and unconventional cabaret festivities -- Germany blows hot and cold in a December full of diverse wintery treats.
Snowboarding experts will be grabbing some air time in Munich
As the snows of winter begin to make the first ominous appearances of the year, it may strike some as strange to choose an event in the windy Olympiastadion in Munich as a destination for chilly spills and thrills. However, the annual Air and Style Snowboard Contest is guaranteed to bring the hottest action to the coldest night when the world’s best boarders descend on the Bavarian capital on Dec. 3. With a brand new Audi and $250,000 in prize money up for grabs, the death-defying ramp acrobats will surely be pushing their boards and bodies to the limit. For those who want to make a weekend out of it, snow dudes and dudettes can rage at the numerous parties being held on the fringes of the event.
Nokia's Night of the Proms comes to the Köln Arena in December
Pop goes classical. Pop and classical music come together in the slightly warmer environs of the Kölnarena in Cologne in December when The Nokia Night of the Proms hits town on Dec. 2 and 3 as part of its 2005 tour. There is a star-studded line-up this year with Roger Daltrey, the legendary voice of The Who, Manfred Mann and Chris Thompson heading the list of legends. Bringing the classical to the stage will be the symphonic orchestra Il Novecento and the choir Fine Fleur. Expect a mix of cross-over sounds as the artists collaborate with each other throughout the show to bring a melding of musical styles to the audience.
A live performance of the Nativity is a big draw at Kastellaun
Working with children and animals. Christmas brings its own traditions, of course, and in every region where the festival is celebrated, a different take on celebrations can be experienced. For something a little out of the ordinary why not head to the historic castle ruin of Kastellaun where, for one weekend only, the biblical Christmas story is performed by real people and animals. The real-life Nativity, or " Lebende Krippe" as the locals call it, has grown in reputation since it was first performed in 1998 and is now one of the highlights of the region's year. The Nativity, together with a traditional Christmas market that is held below the historic castle, draw visitors from all over the area. The Nativity is performed on Saturday Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and on Sunday Dec. 4 at 4 p.m., 5.30 p.m. and 7 p.m.. Admission is free.
Films like "La fiebre del loco" from Andrés Wood will grace the festival
Samba cinema. It may be cold outside but there is some Latin American heat simmering in Hamburg in December when the annual Cinelatino Festival of Latin American Cinema kicks off at the 3001 Kino in the northern German port city on Dec. 1. Running until Dec. 21, the non-profit, non-competitive festival of Latin American Cinema will again be promoting the region's films with bilingual screenings for the local Latin American community and other Hamburgers. Since its inception in 1989, the festival has been building links with other German festivals and distributors for the further promotion of Latin American films in 16mm, 35mm and video formats.
The weird and wacky find an appreciative audience at Tollwood
Crazy cabaret. Once a local cabaret festival, the Tollwood has grown into one of the largest cultural festivals in Europe, drawing over a million visitors each year to its festival tents on the Theresienwiese in Munich. Since 1988, the festival’s focus on cabaret, circus and variety has generated a reputation for quality and originality. Despite its huge success, it has maintained the charm of an original, multicultural celebration, with a mixture of international stars and local heroes from Bavaria, Austria, and some northern German regions. For those who get hungry or thirsty during the events, top chefs are also on hand to offer first-rate dining. The climax of the festival comes on New Year's Eve when a variety of musical acts from live bands to DJs make for a lively night. The Tollwood Festival runs from Nov. 24 to Dec. 31.