Oktoberfest (aka Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart) is the famous German fest in the fall. In spring, it comes around again as Frühlingsfest!
Frühlingsfest translates to spring fest. In Stuttgart, home of the biggest Oktoberfest in the world after Munich, the same grounds are used for both Oktoberfest and Frühlingsfest.
I expected huge tents, giant-sized beer mugs, and lots of cheery people in dirndls and lederhosen. I did not expect a carnival straight out of Coney Island.
|The fairgrounds in Bad Cannstatt in Stuttgart fill up in the spring, for Frühlingfest, and in the fall, for Volksfest.|
|You won't go hungry at a fest — wurst, fries, potato cakes, cotton candy, chocolate-covered fruit on a stick, even cappuccinos, are all for sale. This food stand sells toasted, sweetened nuts. (Mandeln = almonds, for example)|
This year, Frühlingsfest ran from April 21 to May 13. The day draws families and teens. Anyone can enter these huge tents and buy food off the menu. At night, the tables inside the tent are reserved for those who have bought tickets far ahead of time. At 1700 (5 p.m.) or so, it's time to give up your seat for a ticket-holder, who will dance on the benches until the wee hours.
|Inside one of the many huge tents. A live band plays on the stage, against a big screen displaying fest merry-making.|
Sometimes, a ticket inside includes a liter (or two or three) of beer and a half a chicken. The chicken are cooked on a spit, round and round.
|Fries are fries, but Germans don't eat them with their fingers. The popsicle sticks are forked at the end for spearing the fries. The two condiment options: ketchup and mayo.|
Finally — the beer. Stuttgarter Hofbrau brews a special Frühlingsfest beer, light and delicious. You'd think a liter of beer would be a lot to consume. No way, you'd think; I won't be able to finish that! But it's so cool, with a mellow sweetness, that it's lip-smackingly easy to drink.
It's all so good, and the fest is so much fun, you might almost wonder if twice a year still isn't quite enough ...