Celebrate spring at the Sankt Wendel Easter Market

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

Our first spring in Germany came after a long, gray winter. Having spent most of my husband’s time in the military in sunny, warm locations, it was a difficult season of adjustment for our family. When March finally arrived, we were eager to enjoy the promises of a new and brighter season in Europe: flowers, sunshine and festivals.

After experiencing the joy and magic of German Christmas markets, we couldn’t wait to attend our first Easter celebration. The beautiful village of Sankt Wendel is known for hosting a spectacular Easter market (Ostermarkt) every spring, and it was at the top of our list of places to visit.

As usual, we set off for the market early to avoid the crowds. Only 40 minutes from the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC), the drive was scenic and relatively smooth. We found a garage at a nearby hotel, where we could pay a few euros to park without any trouble.

We started making our way toward the tower roof of the village basilica (Sankt Wendalinusbasilika) in the town square while the vendors were still busy setting up their stands. The cheery, yellow daffodils and bright, pastel decorations were definitely a sight for our winter-weary eyes. One by one, the makeshift storefronts came to life.

The star of the village celebration was the Sankt Wendel Easter Crown: a large shrub that had been sculpted into the shape of a crown and decorated with more than 2,000 hand-painted eggs.

After wandering around for a little while, admiring the handicrafts and intricately decorated Easter eggs (Ostereier), the delicious smells of grilled meat, vegetables and pastries filled the air, and our tummies began to growl.

My husband ordered a Bratwurst and, much to the delight of my taste buds, I tried Schwenkbraten for the first time: a pork steak grilled to perfection and sandwiched between two halves of fresh Brötchen (a traditional German roll). Despite its lack of flavor-enhancing condiments, Schwenkbraten is even more delicious than it is fun to say. Sometimes, simple really is the best way to go.

Our boys were over the moon when we purchased a pair of sugary Hasenbrötchen, adorable donut-like pastries cut in the shape of hares or rabbits (Hasen). We also got a giant paper cone of churros to share.

What to know before you go:

  1. Go early.
  2. Scope out the limited parking locations before you get there.
  3. Dress in layers, and bring an umbrella or poncho.
  4. Skip the stroller.
  5. Bring plenty of euros for food, crafts and activities for the kids.

After lunch, the streets began to get overcrowded, which is definitely a downside to European markets. Our youngest son’s naptime was fast approaching, so we purchased the few items we’d had our eyes on and made the short trek back to the parking garage.

At the end of the day, we came home with an adorable, handmade wreath for our front door, soft goat cheese stuffed with Amarena Kirschen (dark cherries that have been soaked in simple syrup, almond liquor and vanilla) and spirits ready to welcome spring.

I definitely recommend stopping by this festival if you happen to be in the area March 15-March 18. The market is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Read up on the event online before you head out.

Frohe Ostern (Happy Easter)!

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