The Stuttgart Beer Festival
The Cannstatter Volksfest is an annual beer festival and travelling fun-fair held in Stuttgart in Germany. This year it will be held over a three week period from 25th September to 11th October. Visitors to the Cannstatter Volksfest often refer to this event as the Stuttgart Beer Festival, but it’s actually more of an autumnal fair.
Check out this amazing Stuttgart Beer Festival tour.
The fun-fair is held at the Cannstatter Wasen, which is a 35 hectare festival area located on the banks of the Neckar River. This fun-fair is an annual event, providing a rich variety of entertainment and plenty of enjoyment over a 17-day period including the last week of September and the first week of October.
Enjoyed by people the world over for almost 200 years, the Cannstatter Volksfest is enormously popular, attracting around four million visitors from all corners of the globe to the state capital of Baden Württemberg. Visitors are captivated by the electric atmosphere of this fabulous fun-fair, with its glorious festival tents, an exciting flea market, and many other spectacular attractions. The Cannstatter Volksfest is rich in tradition: it’s not only the largest festival in Baden Württemberg; it actually is one of the biggest fun-fairs in Europe, second only to Oktoberfest in Munich.
There’s a huge range of fairground rides for people of all ages, including roller coasters, a big ferris wheel, the traditional carousel and a wild-water coaster. Celebrations continue on in the beer tents while visitors are enticed to the Chandler’s Market where there’s an enormous range of curious trinkets and other useful items.
The official opening of the festival begins with a ceremony whereby the incumbent Lord Mayor of Stuttgart tries to tap the first barrel of beer, using as few hits as possible. This ceremony occurs in late September on a Friday, ensuring that the duration of the festival is actually 17 days.
The Volksfest symbol is the traditional fruit column, weighing 3.5 tons and rising 26 meters above the fairground. The inaugural Volksfest was held in 1818 and this towering column decorated with vegetables, fruit and cereals was there, adorning the fairground site. This symbol is a reminder to visitors of the origins of Volksfest as an agricultural harvest festival.
Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart
This year you’ll find seven large beer tents on the Cannstatter Wasen where people can enjoy their celebration. The tents either carry the name of the brewery supplying the beer, or they have their own name.
- Schwaben Bräu tent of Alexander Laub. Remodelled in 2006 and now caters to about 5,200 people;
- Stuttgarter Hofbräu tent of Hans-Peter Grandl. Caters to 5,000 people;
- Dinkelacker tent of Dieter and Werner Klauss, capable of seating 4,500 visitors;
- Fürstenberg tent. From 2000 to 2004 Walter Weitmann organized a tent for the Fürstenberg Brewery with approximately 5,000 seats. This caused resentment from other breweries because of its size and its origin (Fürstenberg is from Baden, another state in Germany). So, in 2005 a smaller tent run by Peter Brandl replaced Weitmann’s, and this one caters to 2,800 visitors;
- Festzelt Göckelesmaier. In 1938 this tent was known as Maiers Karle: it was then renamed due to the roasted chicken they served, known as Swabian: Göckele. It caters to 2,500 people and serves Stuttgarter Hofbräu beer;
- Festzelt Wasenwirt. This tent caters to 2,200 people. Stuttgarter Hofbräu; and
- Arcadia Erlebniszelt. This tent was established in 2005. It seats 1,800 visitors; has an artificial waterfall and Dinkelacker brew.
Since 1982 the tents of Klauss, Grandl and Laub have been located by the fruit column; with each tent taking its turn to host the Opening Ceremony. Generally, the price for a Maß (1 Litre of beer) is the same in all tents.
The Big Parade
The Annual Volksfest Parade is another exciting attraction of the Cannstatter Volksfest. Consisting of fabulously decorated brewers’ drays, each drawn by a 4-dray horse-team, in addition to exciting and talented singing and dancing groups in traditional costumes; the parade winds its way through the city streets.
Every year, German Reunification is marked on the 3rd of October by a huge fireworks display.
Typical rides include:
- Two Ferris Wheels – one at 60 meters, the other at 47 meters;
- Alpina Roller Coaster;
- 66 meter Free-Fall Powertower;
- Wild Water Coaster;
- 350t Imperator;
- Wild Mouse;
- Transformer Carousel;
- Airwulf Carousel;
- Turboforce Carousel;
- Boosters Revolution; and
- Black Hole Indoor Roller Coaster.
Of course the best amusement you will find in the beer tents.
Dates and Opening Hours for Cannstatter Volksfest
25th September – 11th October 2015
Food Stands and Attractions
Monday to Friday from noon: Beer tents open from 11 am.
Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holidays: Everything opens at 11 am.
Sunday to Thursday 11 pm closing.
Friday, Saturday and day before Bank Holiday 11.30 pm closing (music ceases at 11 pm).