When the weather starts to heat up, the days get longer and the trees and flowers begin to bloom, the Germans crawl out from their winter hiding and get ready for a summer full of festivities.
Festival time sees some Germans swap sunbathing for crowd surfing
In Germany summertime is festival time and no matter what you're into there's a party waiting for you. From Berlin's Love Parade to Christopher Street Day or nights of fireworks on the Rhine, the Germans know how to throw a good party.
Gay and Lesbian festivals
Throughout the summer a number of gay pride festivals take place in Germany. The festivals hope to raise awareness of the gay and lesbian community and are open to anyone who want to celebrate in a atmosphere of tolerance and understanding.
Christopher Street Day in Cologne
The most famous gay and lesbian festival is Christopher Street Day which was originally held to remind people of the violent 1969 suppression of the Greenwich Village gay protest.
Today the festival is a huge street party with colorful parades where dancers in bright feather costumes and leather outfits make their way through the city center while thousands of visitors line up along the route. Christopher Street Day is celebrated in a number of German cities, but the most famous ones are held in Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich in June or July.
Berlin love parade
It gets crowded in Berlin when party goers join the Love Parade
Another famous parade is of course the Berlin Love Parade. The parade first saw the light of day in 1989 when Berlin DJ Dr Motte started a music demonstration for tolerance, respect and understanding between nations. The parade quickly grew into a mass parade where processions of trucks and floats, build for the occasion and decorated with flowers and branches, delivered the Love Parade message of peace, love, respect and tolerance while DJ's played techno music.
The Berlin Love Parade is a major tourist attraction and young people from around the globe travel to the city every year to take part in the big techno event. In 2004, however, the organizers had to cancel the parade due to budget problems. Latest news is that it will be up and running again in 2005 and it is scheduled to take place on July 9.
Sailing and waterside festivals
On the North Sea coast, the summer is full of sailing and waterside festivals. The biggest one is the Kieler Woche -- Kiel Week -- which is one of the world's largest sailing events. Anyone interested in sailing is sure to be in for a bit of an experience as different size sail boats put their sails up and get ready to compete.
The windjammer parade is the peak of the traditional Kiel Week.
Kiel Week is also a big town festival and has a lot to offer for those who just want to enjoy the waterside, listen to live music, drink a beer and have a good time. In 2005, Kiel Week will take place from June 18 to June 26.
North Sea Week in Helgoland is another chance to enjoy a festival by the water where the atmosphere hums of summer, regattas and a jolly good time is guaranteed . Or try and check out Hanse Sail Rostock which is a big maritime event with about 200 traditional sailing boats. North Sea Week is scheduled for May 14-17 2005 and Hanse Sail Rostock for August 11-14 2005.
The Rhine in flames
Spectacular firework displays explode over the beautiful Rhine River in the summer
In the summer, a series of firework festivals light up the Rhine River in spectacular colors. The Germans call the festivals, which take place on weekends during the months of May to September, nights of flames or nights of the thousand fires. The firework displays are held at night and often scheduled so they coincide with the wine festivals in the region. The fireworks attract lots of locals and tourists many of whom choose to watch the sky explode from one of the boats parading on the river.
Summer in Germany also has a lot to offer for people interested in classical music. There is the Mozartfest in Wuerzburg, Opera Festival in Munich, Bach festival in Leipzig and Beethoven festival in Bonn just to mention a few. The festivals normally take place over the course of a whole month during which professional singers and musicians from around the globe arrive to perform the classical masterpieces in beautiful indoor and outdoor settings. The concerts mainly take place in the evening or on the weekend.