The Stuttgart Beer Festival (also known as Cannstatter Volksfest) takes place in Stuttgart, Germany and is actually the world’s second largest beer festival. And word on the street is that this festival may actually be better than Oktoberfest, its big brother.
The Stuttgart Beer Festival is gaining in popularity every year and rightfully so! Just like Oktoberfest in Munich, there are a lot of things that make the Stuttgart Beer Festival awesome. However, there are also many things that make it unique and a kind of fun all its own. Check out these 7 fun facts about the Stuttgart Beer Festival.
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1. The Stuttgart Beer Festival is almost as old as Oktoberfest.
Because the Stuttgart Beer Festival is lesser-known in terms of German beer festivals, you may be led to believe it’s kind of new-ish. However, it’s not as young as you may think. (It’s had some work done, shh.)
The Stuttgart Beer Festival actually began way back in 1818, just eight years after the start of Oktoberfest. But while Oktoberfest’s roots lie in a royal wedding celebration, the Stuttgart Beer Festival began as a desperately-needed morale-boosting agricultural festival following a massively destructive volcanic eruption in Indonesia. True story.
2. The Stuttgart Beer Festival has a furry mascot: the Wasenhasi
The Stuttgart Beer Festival’s official mascot is a rabbit known as Wasenhasi. You will see the full-sized Wasenhasi strolling the Wasen (the park where the festival takes place), posing for pictures, and just generally being adorable. He may even be hanging out with his girlfriend Hasi.
Wasenhasi’s origins stem from an old Schwabian folk song about rabbits grazing on the Wasen. (Apparently there are still a lot of rabbits there.) This eventually became a children’s book which then became the age-inappropriate mascot of an international drinking festival.
3. You can get more than just beer at the Stuttgart Beer Festival
Speaking of drinking, you can get much more than beer at the Stuttgart Beer Festival. Where Oktoberfest is mostly beer, the Stuttgart Beer Festival is an equal opportunity inebriator.
The bars inside the beer tents here are full bars. Sure, you can get beer and plenty of it. But you can also get schnapps, liquor, wine, champagne, shots, and that’s all before the sun goes down. There’s even a full-on Jagermeister tent.
4. The Sonja Merz tent has a rotating bar.
The second floor bar inside the Sonja Merz tent is a completely rotating bar that lets you experience indoors and outdoors (and indoors and outdoors again) without getting up. Have a seat at the railing or stand at the bar and watch the festival go by.
You’ll get to watch the beer tent crowd and the festival crowd outside, all without leaving your seat. Over and over and over. This is definitely a way to keep things interesting.
5. The Stuttgart Beer Festival will drive you home.
Unique to the Stuttgart Beer Festival is the Drive-Me-Home service. Yes, someone from the festival will actually drive you home… in your own car… should you need it. What run-of-the-mill festival can say that?
In an effort to curb drinking and driving, the Stuttgart Beer Festival has developed the Drive-Me-Home service. One of their volunteers will drive you home in your own vehicle—all you have to do is provide cab fare for them to get back to the festival to continue their noble duties. Read more about the Drive-Me-Home service here.
6. The Stuttgart Beer Festival has a French/Alpine Village.
Located on the grounds of the Wasen you’ll find what once was known as the French Village but it now called the Alpine Village.
In this part of the festival the ambience is pure French Alps. The tent captures the cozy Alpine atmosphere of a mountain chalet, while the food focuses on real Tyrolean specialties.
There are more than 20 vendor stands in this area offering traditional Tyrolean craftsmanship, delicious food and schnapps, and a true après-ski vibe.
7. The fruit column
One staple of the Stuttgart Beer Festival is the fruit column (called Fruchtsäule), its official emblem.
Because of the festival’s origins as an agricultural festival, there has always been a towering column decorated with fruit at the Cannstatter Volksfest. Ever since 1818 has the fruchtsäule been decorated with various fruits, vegetables, and grains.
This column stands 85 feet tall, weighs about 6,000 pounds, and is mounted on a 16-foot tall base. The dish that holds the fruit at the top weighs another 1,322 pounds.
Check out the fruit column in person! Meet the Wasenhasi! Drink Jager from a bar that spins! Join us on one of our upcoming Stuttgart Beer Festival tours.
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