Celebrate the season at Cannstatter Volksfest

by Stacy Roman
Stripes Europe

Beginning in mid-September, the charming Altstadts throughout Germany will be transformed into large tents decorated in hues of blue and white, with wreaths of bright green hops adorning chandeliers inside. ‘Tis the season for beer festivals! While Oktoberfest in Munich is often the first that comes to mind, the Cannstatter Volksfest (which runs Sept. 28-Oct. 14) in Stuttgart is rapidly becoming more popular with visitors.

Humble beginnings

Almost 200 years ago, King Wilhelm I devised a plan for festival that would showcase Baden-Württemberg’s agricultural prowess. Hoping to stimulate the economy following the devastating Napoleonic Wars, the Cannstatter Volksfest was born. This festival boasts more than four million visitors annually, and is the second-largest Volksfest in Germany.

Don the Dirndl and Lederhosen

Dust of your Dirndl and Lederhosen and hit the Wasen for thrilling rides, fabulous festival food goodness and, of course, delicious frosty beverages. Four local breweries — Dinkelacker, Fürstenberg, Schwaben Braü and Stuttgarter Hofbräu — produce specialty beer (according to Reinheitsgebot — German Purity Law) for the festival. Tent seating often fills quickly, so make reservations soon.

Be sure to check out the parade Sunday, Sept. 30 at 11 a.m. Colorfully costumed characters, brass bands, and elaborately decorated beer wagons make their way from Cannstatter Kursaal to the Wasen. While you’re perusing the vast array of goods from local vendors, keep an eye out for the Fruchtsäle. This impressive 26-meter high column of fruit, veggies and grains represent the agricultural beginnings of the festival.

Know before you go

The Cannstatter Volksfest kicks off Friday, Sept. 28 and runs through Sunday, Oct. 14. Admission to the Wasen is free. Wednesdays are family days, which offer special discounts on tickets, as well as great activities for kids of all ages. Children under 16 years are only allowed in a tent with a parent or guardian. After 8 p.m., little ones 6 and under are no longer permitted in the tents — even with a guardian present. Please leave large bags and backpacks, and Fifi and Fido at home.

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