In lieu of driving 5 hours to Munich for Oktoberfest this year, D and I opted to give another German beer festival a try for the fall season. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cannstatter Volksfest, the world's second largest beer festival. Cannstatter is held in Stuttgart right around the 16-day period that Oktoberfest is going on in Munich, so you definitely don't feel like your missing out on this big festivaling time of year. Fun fact: Oktoberfest isn't celebrated entirely in October. The usual time frame for Wasen (as it's known by the German population) is from mid-September until the first weekend in October. We attended Oktoberfest in Munich on the very last weekend last year and it was nothing short of amazing. This year, we were anxious to see how Cannstatter Volksfest was going to compare. To be quite honest, I could hardly tell a difference!
The biggest contrast from our time at Oktoberfest and our time at Volksfest was that we actually had tickets for a table in a tent this year. At Oktoberfest, we woke up at the butt-crack of dawn, trained into Munich at 7am, waited in line until the fest grounds opened at 9am and ran like crazy people to the Hofbräu tent to score seats. Thankfully, that worked out well for us...but I was so happy to avoid that rush this year. That's why it's always wise to pre-book a table time in one of the various tents at either festival. In fact, if you're looking to go next year, start booking things at the first of the year. Trust me. Trying your luck at Oktoberfest and at Volksfest is like playing blackjack in Vegas. You might win big...or you might walk home buzz-less.
A little disclaimer before I continue the festivities: I like to use my blog as one giant memory book of our time here in Europe. It's filled with almost every single activity we've taken part in since moving here a little over 2 years ago. I know some of you may get sick of scrolling through so many photos, but since this is my memory book, my place to store the pieces of our travels that I'll look back on forever, I don't limit how many I share. I know, BLOGGER BLASPHEMY! I'm a rule breaker, what can I say? Photos tell a story, and I like to read our story from beginning to end. I just thought I'd put that out there for those minimalists who will surely "x" out of this just a quarter of the way through. And that's ok...more memories for me! For those of you sticking with me (I love you), be on the lookout for fun videos and more stories from our visit to Volksfest throughout the post. :)
As far as the rest of the festival...the tents were all similar to the ones at Oktoberfest. Brightly colored, bustling with people, maß beers (liter beers) overflowing around every corner...the whole shebang. Almost everyone is dressed to the nines in their traditional Bavarian garb (us included...I mean, you HAVE to...it's just not the same fun without the lederhosen) and singing at the top of their lungs every time "Hey Baby" or Ein Prosit" (the traditional "cheers your beer" song, as I like to call it) is played by the band. We had a table time of 11am-4:30pm at the Sonja Merz tent, so we spent most of our day there enjoying maß upon maß of delicious hefeweizens with 20 of our friends from D's office. While the tent wasn't quite as big as the Hofbräu tent at Oktoberfest...it was every bit as fun. I honestly think no matter what tent you're in, it's sure to be a hoppin' party. The Germans are really good at this partying thing. The festival grounds looked a lot like the Oktoberfest grounds (fair rides, games, food tents), maybe just a bit smaller in scale. I also felt like Volksfest was a little less touristy than Oktoberfest. I saw (and heard) fewer drunk Italians, Australians, and Brits than we experienced in Munich. Volksfest felt more German, if that makes any sense.
The tent erupting in "99 Luftballons!"
Try doing that with completely full glasses of beer. The fest waitresses are AMAZING women. I can't get over how many maß they can carry at one time! All the boys tried holding as many empty ones as they could. Clearly not as impressive.
This guy was beyond adorable. I'm not ashamed to say I danced with him a few times. There are no friendlier Germans than the ones you'll find at Wasen. Those girls below, however, ended up falling onto our table and spilling my half maß of beer. That's what you get for JUMPING on a wooden fest bench. J U M P I N G. I swear.
Use your noggin's, ladies.
Ein Prosit...the ever so popular German drinking song. "A toast to happiness" is it's main theme.
"Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit. Ein Prosit, ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit. Eins, zwei, drei, g'suffa! Zicke, zacke, zicke, zacke, hoi hoi hoi! PROST!"
At 4:30pm they started shooing us all out of the fest tent to start preparing for the 5:00pm reservations to start rolling in. We were herded like cattle out the back door to find the fest grounds looking like the photo below. On a beautiful fall day, you can expect Volksfest (and Oktoberfest) to be jam packed full of people. We pushed and shoved our way through the crowds to wander around the less crowded parts until we finally gave up and decided to start our journey back home.
All in all, Cannstatter Volksfest was every bit as fabulous as Oktoberfest in my book. Granted, if given the opportunity, you should definitely go to Munich and experience the famed Oktoberfest for yourself. But if you've been there, done that...Cannstatter Volksfest will do. If fact, if you're currently in Germany, you've got one last weekend (this coming weekend) to attend Volksfest! Don't miss it!
And if you made it to the end of this post...20,000 awesome points for you. :)