Germany's second largest folk festival will also take place in autumn. In Stuttgart, the Cannstatter Volksfest will be celebrated on the Wasen grounds as a giant party for the 200th anniversary.
From September 28 to October 14, the 17-day-event is largely about drinking, dancing and fairground rides - but otherwise visitors can look forward to everything from fried chicken to a freefall tower (best not combine them!) at the funfair. The nine main tents can seat around 35,000 people. A spokesman for the organizers says there’s no competition with the more famous Oktoberfest in Munich: "We’re smaller and more intimate, and get a different kind of clientele."
Up to 4 million people visit the festivities every year. The organizers estimate the Italians account for the biggest foreign contingent, with large numbers of revelers also coming from Britain, Switzerland and France.
A traditional liter-glass of beer costs €10,60 this year. But there are also two special tents serving wine and sekt (sparkling wine) from the local Württemberg region. Visitors get through half a million chickens each year. But vegans don’t need to go hungry either, with some tens offering the likes of deep-fried corn nuggets.
Things get a bit historical on parade day, Sunday September 30. 100 festival groups march through the Stuttgart neighborhood of Bad Cannstatt in a variety of outfits. Visitors can also do a bit of shopping for art, jewelry and other potential gifts at a specially built market.
The main landmark of the festival is a wooden pillar decorated with fruit, vegetables and cereals, towering over the grounds. Representing the advent of harvest time, the pillar’s history goes back to the very first festival in 1818.
As with all big celebrations, there are strict security precautions. There are controls at the entrances. Backpacks and bags should not be brought along. Glass bottles and containers are not allowed. The fairground is under video surveillance.