Spotlight on: Experiencing a German Beer Fest

It’s coming up on that time again…Frühlingsfest! I am so excited. Last year was an amazing time, and this year is building up to be just as good, if not better! Our good friends will be here visiting from the States and our night at the fest is going to kick off a week full of fun!

This sight can only mean one thing! It's Festival time! :-)

This sight can only mean one thing! It’s Festival time! 🙂

And really, there is nothing like a German Festival. I’ve written before about how much Germans love a good celebration, and when they do it, they do it right. And to make sure you do it right, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Plan Ahead! I reserved our table for Frühlingsfest nearly a month ago, and already a majority of the tents were sold out. At the larger festivals – Frühlingsfest, Oktoberfest, Volksfest – you will absolutely not get a seat (unless you are willing to wait in a RIDICULOUS line) which will lead to a less-than-ideal experience. Being at a table with your friends is the first step! Plus, included in the price of the table reservation is the chicken dinner and at least two of the large, liter beers
2. Dress Like the Locals! I had read, and had been told, that if you want the tourist experience, go to Oktoberfest. If you want the real German experience go to Volksfest (Stuttgart’s Fall Beer Fest) or Frühlingsfest. I’ve been to all three, and it’s completely true. Pretty much everyone will be in a Lederhosen or Dirndl each night of Frühlingsfest. Not only will you look like a local, but the get-up is so much fun it’s hard not to have a great time.
Wear it and Love it!

Wear it and Love it!

3. Get there a bit early if you like Carnival Rides! Frühlingsfest (and the other fests) are more than just beer tents. There are roller coaster rides, ferris wheels and an assortment of other twisty rides that will look fun but will most definitely need to be avoided after a couple of beers.
The ride selection is actually quite impressive!

The ride selection is actually quite impressive!

4. Bring Euro! Most places in Germany don’t take credit card anyway, and the fest is no different. Don’t mess with the crowds all trying to get to the ATM and come prepared with cash. You’ll need it for the bathroom (usually 50 cents a visit) and for the post-beer food that will be extremely necessary as you make your way back to the train for the trip home.
5. The Beer will come in Big Steins that you will want to take home. However, security will have other ideas. In fact, in the German fashion of avoiding excess trash – everything will be served in glasswear. But the Steins will be what you want…you just won’t be successful in smuggling them out – I’ve witnessed it first-hand.
I would love a Stein from the Fest…I would not love dealing with Security to get it!

I would love a Stein from the Fest…I would not love dealing with Security to get it!

6. Your balance will be put to the test. Put it out of your mind now that you will be sitting – because the only time that happens is when the band takes a break or when the food is served. Otherwise, you will be on a long wooden bench jumping, dancing and singing along to the music. It’s actually quite surprising there aren’t more accidents because of this.
Stand up and get to know the folks around you!

Stand up and get to know the folks around you!

7. Learn this song now. “Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit. Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit.” Pronounced Ga-moot-lich-kite, which in a rough translation basically means a feeling of good cheer. You will sing it every 20 minutes, and each time you will hold up your beer and cheers to the people next to you. Every. Single. Time.
8. You will be hot and your personal space invaded. The tents are neither ventilated nor do they have air conditioning units. You will be in close proximity from the minute you step off the train (because obviously the unspoken rule is you NEVER drive to a festival) to the time you enter the tents to the time you leave the tents and board the now ridiculously crowded train. But everyone is happy and enjoying “Gemütlichkeit” and you won’t care at all.
Yes, I was powdering my face. This was 10 minutes in to my first fest and before I realized it was completely pointless!

Yes, I was powdering my face. This was 10 minutes in to my first fest and before I realized it was completely pointless!

9. Don’t forget to eat! Included in the price of the ticket is a chicken dinner. Do not bypass this. Don’t say no. We made this mistake at Volksfest last year and it was a terrible idea. Drinking liters of beer on an empty stomach leads to nothing good, Nothing good at all. You’re doing even better if you remember to throw a glass of water in there between beers too.
A much-needed food break a couple beers in!

A much-needed food break a couple beers in!

10. Have fun. Enjoy the experience and the atmosphere. Enjoy the German Beer and the friendly people. Don’t be the ignorant drunk causing problems for everyone – Germans have been drinking beer in large quantities for a long time now, and not to say that there isn’t ever a disturbance, but it’s rare. Don’t be the exception.
Love this picture - it completely captures the experience. A bit blurry but lots and lots of fun!

Love this picture – it completely captures the experience. A bit blurry but lots and lots of fun!

Just writing this is making me extremely happy because this fest is marks the start of the summer season where each weekend is marked with some sort of celebration. It is a wonderfully magical time in Germany and no matter when you visit, going to a festival, even a small one is an experience not to be missed.

 

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