Stuttgart, the capital of the state of Baden Württemberg. It’s one of the largest cities in Germany. It holds two yearly festivals that attracts people from all over the world. This festival is one of them. It takes place at Stuttgart’s traditional fairground called Cannstatter Wasen.
For more info: http://www.stuttgarter-fruehlingsfest.de/en/home/
“Wasen” is what most locals call this festival. It’s also called Cannstatter Wasen, Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest or Stuttgart Spring Festival. It’s comparable to a mini Oktoberfest. This fest is held between mid April and early May. The bigger and more famous version of this festival is the Cannstatter Volksfest or Stuttgart Beer festival which is held from late September to early October.
There are a variety of food stands to choose from and several small beer gardens all over the festival grounds. There’s even a carousel-like bar in one of them.
Kids love the different rides. They spend their coins on toy machines and try to win prizes at the carnival like stands. The sweet delights sold at the food stands are also a hit with children.
Adults gravitate towards the big tents where hearty food is served and beer overflows in oversized mugs.
You’ll see waiters and waitresses carrying several extra large mugs of beer in each hand. It’s quite a sight. You’ll also see men and women sing and dance on top of benches to live entertainment. The atmosphere is lively, loud, and a lot of fun!
The Lederhosen (meaning breeches or pants made of leather) for men and Dirndle (a dress with close-fitting bodice and an A-line or full skirt) for women are usually worn during the Spring and Autumn fests. Don’t worry about standing out in these clothes. Everybody’s wearing them. You’ll see people wearing them on the streets and trains.
For more info on Lederhosen & Dirndle: http://www.bavarianspecialty.com/pages/History.html
A Few Tips:
- Go early in the day when traveling with kids. It’s more of an adult atmosphere in the evenings.
- Take the train to Bad Cannstatt instead of driving. It’s more convenient than trying to find parking and less expensive than taking a taxi. It’s also a good way to get home safely if you plan on enjoying the alcoholic beverages.
- The location of the bow is important to know when wearing a dirndle. (Left means single, Right means married, Back means widow, and Middle is usually for kids or a virgin)
- Don’t carry a large purse or hand bag. Bring a small shoulder bag instead.
- Backpacks are not allowed in the big tents. There is a place near the entrance where you can check it in for a fee of €3.
- Children are allowed in the tents during the day but not in the evening.
- Beer tends to spill everywhere in the tents. I don’t recommend wearing your best shoes or coat.
- Entrance is free to the big tents but you will need to make reservations in advance, especially in the evening.
- You might not be allowed inside once they reach full capacity unless you have a reservation.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking around the fest grounds.
- Carry coins for the WC (Water Closet) or toilet. It costs ¢50 per person, per use.
- Foods/drinks to try: Langos (Hungarian fried bread with different toppings like cheese or Nutella), fresh roasted nuts of all types and flavors, bratwurst, and last but not least, the BEER!
Cheers! Or as they say in Germany, “Prost!”