Volksfest!

6 Oct

…Otherwise known as Stuttgart’s better version of Oktoberfest! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the original Oktoberfest in Munich is fantastic, but the one here in Stuttgart- called Volksfest- is just a little bit better. On the surface, they’re identical. Both are giant fairs complete with oodles of rides, games and greasy foods. Both have 12+ huge tents serving up fest beer, German food and live entertainment. So what gives Volksfest the edge? Well frankly, the tourists. Or lack of them! Munich has become such a ‘bucket list item’ for so many people- mainly Americans and Brits, according to the stats- that it just has a bit more of a touristy vibe, and beyond obnoxious crowds. Higher prices year after year, marketing to everyone but the locals, more souvenir stands full of useless crap, cuisines moving away from traditional Bavarian style…Volksfest just feels a bit more ‘real.’ In fact, most predict that it will take over the top spot (it’s currently the #2 beer celebration in the world) within the next decade.

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Volksfest, attracting about 5 million people each year, takes place over three weeks in late September/early October- coinciding with Oktoberfest happening a few hours away. Let’s take a quick look at it’s really cool beginnings…

In 1815, a gigantic volcano eruption in Indonesia led to a climatic catastrophe even in Europe. The explosion hurled rocks, ashes and dust into the sky. These were distributed by the jet stream around the world and caused crop failure and famine in Europe. The winter of 1815 in Wurttemberg was the coldest in history- snow until May, no summer, alternating rain, whipping hail and thunderstorms continuing into the growth season. This made harvesting crops in those years impossible. Throughout Germany, people were starving. The little existing flour was stretched with sawdust and the planted potatoes were dug up again. When Wilhelm became King of Wurttemberg in 1816, Czar Nikolaus of Russia, helped with deliveries of grain. Then, in 1817, when the first harvest wagon from the region was finally brought in, King Wilhelm celebrated by throwing a harvest festival for his people. He donated cash prizes and honorary awards for outstanding agricultural accomplishment- the festival was designed to encourage the farmers. Today with around 350 companies, Volksfest is the biggest carnival-festival worldwide.

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On the train, headed to Fest…Thank God for public transportation!

We were really pumped to get to do two Fests this year- the first a few weeks ago with friends in Munich and this time here at home with our girl and Uncle Andy ❤ Neve LOVES fests- the rides, the lights, the tents, the music, the dancing…She was in Heaven, and this time, she had her own dirndl like Mommy!

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My favorite pic of the night ❤

The rest of us had a pretty kickass time ourselves, too. Unlike a few weeks ago, this time, being in the tent wasn’t the main objective. When Neve goes with us, we usually get there in time to (hopefully) find seats in a tent (we lucked up on the third tent we tried!), eat dinner and have a beer or two, then spend the rest of the night riding the rides, eating fair food and marveling at all the festivities. And you know what? I 100% love both ways of doing it! There’s definitely something akin to Christmas morning about watching the wonder and the pure joy through your daughter’s eyes.

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We ended up in the Dinkelacker tent. Coincidentally, this is the brewery that’s a block from our house and we can use our keen senses of smell to tell when they’re brewing 😉

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Some friends back in Columbia, SC, are doing a school project where ‘Flat George’ travels the world and returns home with stories and pictures from his adventure. Tonight, Flat George joined us at Volksfest!

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Never, ever, ever has there been a cuter little ‘German’ girl. Or one who loves Fests more. ❤

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Sweaty and out of breath from dancing and singing on our table ❤

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Dad and Andy about to be slingshotted into the night sky!

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Just try to get this kid off the rollercoasters!

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Have you ever ridden fair rides in a dirndl and lederhosen? Ha!

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‘Twas definitely a fun, fun night here in Stuttgart. And one that almost didn’t happen- at least not as we’d planned as I’m sure many of you know that there’s a hurricane headed straight for our hometown, Charleston, SC. Well, at the last minute, the predicted storm track shifted just a bit eastward and the projected speeds slightly lowered. That coupled with the uncertain airport closures and insane parking lots that are currently the roads in the Lowcountry helped my parents make the decision to stay with us through the weekend as originally planned, which meant not only our fun night at Volksfest, but also John’s early birthday celebration scheduled for tomorrow night! Yep, we intend to keep the shenanigans going right up until they board that flight! ❤ (And yes, that’s another saga in itself- can’t even imagine this house without them here by this point, so I’m not even going to go there yet! Telepathic hugs appreciated! ;))

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2 Responses to “Volksfest!”

  1. Georgia October 7, 2016 at 6:38 AM #

    Fun fun fun. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. Eleanor October 6, 2016 at 11:47 PM #

    I commented earlier about Neve being lonesome when everyone leaves. I know you and John will also. I just love the pictures and the joy on your faces. What an experience and we all are learning so much. Thanks you Erin for the Blogs. Love you, E-

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