Germany hosts both the biggest, and the second-biggest beer festival in the world. Our host city of Stuttgart holds the second-biggest. Stuttgart’s Volksfest is a folk festival that has been running almost as long as Munich’s Oktoberfest. Volksfest has been running annually for 200 years, minus a few years for world wars and Covid. It originally started as an agricultural festival put on to help boost the local economy, as it still does today.
One big difference from Oktoberfest is that there are much fewer tourists at the Volksfest. Mostly Germans and a bunch of expats calling Stuttgart their home-away-from-home.
Volksfest is a huge carnival with many elaborately decorated rides, for all ages. There are roller coasters, a ferris wheel, bumper cars, a haunted mansion, and rides you really shouldn’t try after having a few drinks. There are also lots of vendors selling alpine hats, leather goods, and so much good food, including pizza, ice cream, pretzels, and langos – a deep fried flatbread.
And then there are the beer tents. We spent most of the day with friends in the SchwabenWelt tent, a huge temporary structure with a wooden cabin theme. It seats thousands of people in a huge central nave, a balcony, and also an outdoor area. The liters of beers and Weissweinschorle (white wine spritzers) were delicious and went down easily. Lunch was half a rotisserie chicken and a crusty roll. Fabulous.
Additionally, the band was fantastic, super energetic, playing sing-along songs all day. Crowd favorites were Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ and John Denver’s ‘Country Roads.’
We also met up with our friends from the Stuttgart Expats group, for another tent experience. They are a great group of people, and the leaders were super-organized in getting us all to the right tables in the right tent. The Wasenwirt tent was rocking for the evening, crowded, loud, and fun. Volksfest is an especially great people-watching event. The tents are full of festive partiers, many dressed in the traditional dirndl or lederhosen, wearing funny hats, wigs, and floating funny balloons over their table.
We had a wonderful day at Volksfest catching up with friends, singing, and taking many photos. Great festival, Stuttgart!
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