My favorite thing about living in Germany is the ease of travel. My second favorite thing are the festivals. Ok, it’s a tie between the festivals and the bakeries, but I’m going with festivals for now. Anywhere you travel, almost any time of the year, you are likely to run into some local celebration. There’s casual ones as well as themed ones. Some interesting ones I’ve found include festivals celebrating the Brothers Grimm, other countries, the marriage between Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora, and even cities in north Germany celebrating southern regions.
This past Saturday was our local street fest. For me, it’s our marker that the summer has officially started. As a Floridian who has lived in mostly tropical climates all my life, I always took the sun for granted. After three years here, though, I see what the celebration is all about. People of all ages come out, freed from the constraints of their jackets, scarves, and long pants and enjoy summer.
For 1-2 miles, traffic was diverted. Our main street was lined with food stalls, shops, mini-beer gardens, and several stages with live performances. We packed up the family and took off looking for a late lunch. The crowds were heavy, but the lines weren’t long. Most people were doing what we were doing, enjoying the sun and scooping out the options. We made it all the way to the end to figure out what we wanted to eat. We only stopped to grab a balloon (or three) for my son.
The typical German festival foods were there: waffles, crepes, bratwurst, french fries, garlic mushrooms, fish. We opted for something different. We ate spring rolls, and an Egyptian appetizer platter with bread and dip, plus grilled Chicken, couscous and salad. Then on to crepes before heading home.
Tips for Festival Attendees in Germany
- Get your kids a balloon as soon as possible, it’s the easiest way to spot them!
- Feel free to sit at a table or bench that other people are sitting at, Germans share tables with strangers all the time and it’s a fun way to make friends.
- Drinks are usually sold in separate stalls than food. So, send one person to get drinks and the other to get lunch.
- Drinks are also usually sold in glasses. You pay a small deposit when you get a drink in a glass, so you can either keep the glass as a souvenir or do what most people do and return them to get your deposit back.
Now that our local festival is done, I’m ready to check out other festivals this summer. Here’s a list of some interesting festivals:
Other Summer Festivals in Germany
- Cathedral Steps Theater Festival, Erfurt: A theater festival probably doesn’t sound so fun, but with the Erfurt Cathedral in the background and plays specifically for children, it’s worth a visit. This year the festival will be held July 4-21.
- Rhine In Flames: For one day each month a different section of cities along the Rhine River host a spectacular display of fireworks known as the “Rhine in Flames”. I’ve watched this in the city of Koblenz in the past. With Koblenz being the intersection of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers, and the city’s Castle Ehrenbreitstein being more wide than tall, it is unlike any firework show I’ve experienced. This year the show will be on August 10. Koblenz will also have the Koblenz Summer Festival at the same time, August 9-11.
- The best festival of all: the one you stumble upon when you’re walking around and notice a large gathering happening in one area. These occur not only in cities as I mentioned above, but even in local sites and attractions. I don’t think it’s possible to spend more than 3 days in Germany during the summer and not pass at least one festival.
Have you been to one of the summer festivals in Germany, or is there one that you’ve heard of that you want to go to?
This post is part of Friday Daydreaming at RWeThereYetMom.
The festival looks awesome! We have tons of festivals in the Spring/Fall here, and we try to go to a few every season, but they all seem pretty repetitive after a while.
I love festivals but find that I rarely visit any. I’m hoping to change that this year.
Hmmm…maybe my husband and I are just festival people. I just realized this. We’ve driven out of our way for them in the past. I think it’s because we really love street food.
The festivals sound like a lot of fun! We get very excited about the arrival of warm weather in Canada too. Maybe not quite so many street festivals but at the first sign of summer the restaurants set up outdoor patios and chairs/tables on the sidewalks – everyone just loves to eat and drink outside.
I love the atmosphere change when restaurants open seating outside. The last time I was home (Florida) I noticed a shift in how restaurants are built/set up. Like, one wall seems to be removed to give a more outdoor feel. Maybe they had it before and I never noticed, but I think it’s more common there now.
I love fairs and any sort of festivals since the food stands always have such great offerings. Living in Southern California, we take the sun for granted too so it’s always fun to see festivals ushering in summer. We’ll be in Bavaria Germany next week and hope to stumble on to a festival.
Hi Mary, In Munich there’s an Opera festival that they have every year. Not sure how exciting that is, but I do know that Bavarians love festivals so you should stumble on several! Have a great time and I hope the weather stays nice for you.
Festivals are so much fun! It looks like Germany does them like Quebec – all the time!
I guess I need to go to Quebec now. I bet the festival food there is delicious!
Hello, Ann. I’m a St. Augustine, Florida, native and an Army wife. We were stationed outside Mannheim in the late 80s. I loved Worms and Heidelberg – especially in early June when Heidelberg was “burned” to re-enact the attack by the French centuries ago.
Love your blog. It’s a pleasure to see what some of our favorite places look like today.
Hope you can get back to Florida in 2015 for St. Augustine’s 450th birthday party.