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Canstatter Volksfest – Stuttgart Beer Festival 2018
28. September until 14. October at the Cannstatter Wasen
Fun comes first on Stuttgart’s fairground Wasen in the south of Germany with millions of visitors coming from all over the world to celebrate.
The Stuttgart Beer Festival, which originated in 1818 as a harvest thanksgiving celebration, has become one of the world’s largest public festivals with a host of fairground rides and frequent new attractions centred round its emblem, a 26 metre high column of fruit. The column is a reminder that the young, beloved Wuerttemberg Queen Katharina with her husband King Wilhelm I gave this to the people of the country in 1818 at the end of a period of starvation. The white water flume, the Ferris wheel and the colourful market stalls delight millions of visitors 17 days long every autumn. In the huge marquees of the Stuttgart breweries, each of which seats up to 5000 guests, in the beer tents of the regional brewers and the beer gardens, the beer flows more or less unceasingly, and there is plenty of food available as well.
Each year the festival opens with a grand procession with magnificently decorated brewery drays drawn by four or six horses, and with groups from all over the region dressed in traditional costumes.
Today Stuttgarters together with millions of guests celebrate one of the most beautiful and largest fairs and beer festivals in the world.
The best beer tents
In the huge marquees of the Stuttgart breweries, each of which seats up to 5,000 guests, and in the beer tents of the regional brewers as well as in many beer gardens, the beer flows more or less unceasingly. There is also plenty of delicious traditional food available such as Käsespätzle (Swabian noodles with cheese), roasts, potato noodles with sauerkraut, Göckele or crispy knuckles. Bands wearing traditional clothing ensure the cheerful entertainment.
The greatest rides
Super looping, roller coasters, haunted houses, bumper cars, white water raft rides and the largest transportable Ferris wheel in the world turn a stroll along the Wasen into an enormous jamboree. For the daring, the spectacular rides are pure pleasure, the romantics can look forward to the chain carousel and the ship swing.
Visitors to the Huckster’s market will discover pots, pans, ceramics or clothing, as well as all manner of useful or curious objects.
The opening celebration
The celebrations will be opened in the Schwaben Bräu tent of the festival innkeeper Laub with the traditional tapping of the oak beer barrel by the lord mayor of the state capital of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The Cannstatter Fair is then officially declared open. Displays of folklore groups wearing traditional clothing, music and humoristic contributions add to the festive mood.
(All Photos by kind permission: Photo: in.Stuttgart)
Stuttgart’s wine culture
In the year 1386 according to the chronicals more wine flowed than water so that the mortar for building houses had to be mixed with wine.
Since wine grows especially on meager soil which cannot be used by other forms of agriculture, many mostly poor families turned to viniculture. The whole family had to help and with very high taxes and due to the leases (up to 80%) often not much was left to live on.
Thus wine was grown wherever possible and people hoped for St. Urban, the patron saint of the wine farmers who was supposed to help against frost and hail. Viniculture took over to such a capacity that the rulers had to forbid the cultivation of additional grapes at the beginning of the 14th century in order to not endanger the supply of the people with bread, fruits and meat and milk.
In the year 1386 according to the chronics more wine flowed than water so that the mortar for building houses partially had to be mixed with wine.
That people tried to sufficiently encounter the flood of wine through festivals and celebrations is a matter of course. A number for example: when in the year 1480 the beloved Count Ulrich V died, at his funeral the bereaved from near and far drowned their pain in 64 buckets of red and white wine. Since a bucket then contained 294 liters, this was almost 19,000 liters of wine which “fell prey” to the funeral.
Wine was cultivated on in all 45,000 hectares in Wuerttemberg in 1600 (today its is some 11,000 hectares) and often in the surplus of wine it was “free for whoever wanted it”. Wealth creates envy. That wasn’t any different in the wine loving Wuerttemberg back then than it is today elsewhere. Numerous feuds and small wars began in the wealth due to the wine.
All of these tiffs were however downright “small stuff” in comparison to the event which almost brought the viniculture to a 100 percent stop: the Thirty Years’ War. Shortly before the outbreak of the war, the rulers had implemented a quality consciousness and the first attempts were made to sort out the bad sorts of grapes and to pay more attention to the quality of the wine than to the large yield.
The cultivation of Clevner, Veltliner, Silvaner, Gutedel, Traminer, Muskateller and other sorts began. Later in the 17th century the Trollinger and Riesling were added.
Who was there first, the wine or the Romans? It is certain that the Romans brought with them the drink of Bacchus, stored in barrels. In the case of the Stuttgart region however it is probable that wine entered into the country with the Christianization.