Guest blogger Lloyd Parfait takes us through the colorful landscape of Central Germany to reveal his top picks for the very best German festivals of the season.
Gather ’round kids…its the 2011 German Fest Season with Uncle Lloyd! I
apologize for the tardiness of this announcement. I hope you’ve all been
attending the initial warm up fests as I have. Here we are in the home stretch of the season and its time to finish strong! Now without further ado…here are the fests I plan on attending over the coming months.
19-22 August 2011: Wittlich; Pigfest or Sauerbrenner (Pig Burner)
Years ago, the guard that was in charge of locking the gate to the walled fortress
couldn’t find the wooden pin to secure the gate. So, he found a carrot and put it in its place. Along came a pig, ate the carrot, the gate opened, in marched the enemy and leveled the town. The residents found every pig in the town and killed them all and ate them. They celebrate the event every year with carnival rides, booze, live music and above all…roasted pork sandwiches. There are over 150 pigs cooked and consumed in this gorgeous little village during the fest and its an absolute blast. The pork sandwiches are amazing…and the booze is on point, too.
19-22 August 2011: Rudesheim am Rhein; Wine Festival
Quaint, lovely and immensely picturesque, Rudesheim is a wine lovers’ paradise in this quintessential small village perched on the bank of the Rhein river near Weisbaden. One of the largest statues in Europe stands on the edge of the forest, 250 m above the Rhine. Its a huge monument designed to symbolize
the re-establishment of the german Empire and Germany’s unity…as of last
weekend, it’s covered in scaffolding from head to toe; hopefully it’s being prepped for the fest. The cable car ride up to the top of the hill is worth the view of the river valley alone. This is a festival for sipping wine and eating the local fare…not a rowdy display of booze-laced debauchery like some fests in the area. Patience my fellow festies…these will come soon enough.
Aug 24 – Sep 4, 2011: Stuttgart; Wine Village
The Stuttgart Wine Village is one of the largest and most beautiful wine festivals in Germany. From the end of August to the beginning of September, the Stuttgart city center is transformed into a festive wine village. 120 wine alcoves with traditional decor offer up over 250 wines from the region. Great music and food complement the warm and friendly atmosphere. If wine isn’t your thing, there will be plenty of beer around, too. Some of the best beer in Germany is brewed and served just around the corner from the fest in Stuttgart’s smallest brewery, the Calwer-Eck Brau.
1-5 September 2011: Bernkastel-Kues; The Mittel Mosel Wine Festival
This fest is one of the best festivals on the Lloyd Par-fest tour. It used to hold
the number one slot until Bad Durkheim forcefully took that position last year. The best wines produced in the fantastic Mosel river valley are offered here for your tasting, consumption, appraisal, and purchase. The tiny twin cities, Berkastel-Kues, explode with booze, eats, live music, firecrackers on the river, booze, people watching, booze, people falling off and getting dragged by the bumper cars, and wine tasting in the best wine cellar in town, the aptly named, Rieslinghaus Porn. Rest assured, despite the name, this cellar isn’t some inappropriate dive bar like you find in Amsterdam. Inside you’ll find a wine house with an impressive collection of Germany’s finest wines, a ridiculously knowledgeable staff, and a great wine sipping atomosphere. Saturday is my favorite day to go. Saturday night about 11pm is when the fireworks are fired from the castle up on the hill across the river. Buy a bottle of your favorite riesling from the porn store, find a spot on the the river bank and watch the show! Bring a driver…there are no hotels to be had this late in the game…and public transportation is virtually nonexistent. Last year I rented a 50 pax bus and it was easily the best idea I ever conceived. If you want to get a hotel for next year’s fest…book it now. I may actually skip this fest this year and attend, in its stead…
2-4 September 2011: Karlsruhe; Bierborse
This is part of a series of beer fests that travels around Germany every two years. This fest boasts hundreds of german beers to include rare and hard to find german microbrews. This fest is designed more for the beer connoisseurs and not so much for the miscreant Oktoberfest 10 liter beer chuggers/regurgitators. If you miss it here, then it’ll be in Koln for its last stop from 9-11 Sep.
9-19 September: Bad Durkeim; Wurstmarkt
…Please forgive any spelling errors in the following description…I tremble at the mere thought of this fest. If this fest were the scene of an epic film, as the leading character approached this hallowed ground, Carl Orff’s “O’Fortuna” would be playing in the background. As a matter of fact, German Festivals’ evil stepmother, “Bad D” Wurstmarkt, was in the movie “Lord of the Rings.” It had a small role as the mountain with the fiery eye on the top. Despite its imposing stature as the prominent wine festival of modern day Germany…magical, and I stress the term – MAGICAL – things happen in Bad Durkheim; a town that is lovingly called many other names during this time of year…Bad D, Bad Decisions, Bad Idea, and Bad “Drunktime” Durkheim, to name a few. If you’re new to fests, drinking, full frontal male nudity, midget tossing, friend tossing, cookie tossing, or have never been in a chemical fire…this is not the fest for you. Go rush at a fraternity for five years straight, come back and try again. I was told last year that once the fest is over every day, the party REALLY begins in Bad D. The largest wine fest in the entire world…both by space and volume;
the vendors there sell wine by the pint glass! You can get it “schorle” (half wine half soda), but I ask you…the vintners took such great care in crafting the wines, is it right to pour water into their life’s passion and work? This fest also has the best fest chickens on the tour…the place behind the biggest fest tent in the middle of the fairgrounds will fulfill your fest chicken fantasies, addicitions, etc.
24 Sep – 10 Oct: Stuttgart; Canstatter Volksfest
Ah, Volksfest! This is exactly like Oktoberfest in Munich…just a little smaller, more fun, you can drink anywhere (not just in the tents like Munich), its not full of 14 year-olds throwing up on themselves, no fights, it’s a little cheaper, and the best update to the fest from last year…I LIVE HERE and I can see it from my house! This fest is for pure livliness and merriment! The atomosphere is abundantly friendly and the beer seems to be limitless! If you can find tickets to a tent, get them. If not, just go to the tents early (before 3pm) and grab a spot at a table. You may have to move once the party arrives that reserved the table, but they’ll probably be drunk already and won’t mind squeezing you in their table. The fest chickens are sublime and the Schweinehaxen are divine!
Lloyd Parfait currently lives the dream in Stuttgart, Germany, where he splits his
time between protecting the free world and conducting extensive and sometimes
dangerous personal research on the revelry habits of Germans and other European