Bad Dürkheim's Wurstmarkt wine Festival

Categories: Family and Kids, Sightseeing, Cultural and History, Entertainment

Harvest in a vineyard
Harvest in a vineyard

[ source: Flickr]

If you plan a trip to Germany, mark the 11th - 15th and the 18th - 21st of September 2009 in your calendar. Those are the weekends to join the festivities in Bad Dürkheim (Bad Dürkheim vacation rentals | Bad Dürkheim travel guide), along the wine route in the Rhineland-Palatinate.

The "Wurstmarkt" wine festival in Bad Dürkheim, in the most beautiful part along the "Weinstrasse", Rhineland-Palatinate, is an annual Festival that takes place on 2 following weekends in September. Looking back to nearly 600 years of history, the event changed from being originally a meeting point for local farmer and winegrower, attracted by the pilgrims who came to the small chapel on top of the mountain "St. Michaelsberg" every year on the 29th of September. Centuries went by and the originally religious event became a folk festival, which attracts nowadays several hundred thousand visitors on each 2nd and 3rd weekend in September. On the fairground, next to the town's giant wine barrel, it becomes clear that wine plays a big role during the festival, beside the sausages. Local wines and sparkling wines "Sekt" are served in classic, stemmed glasses or are generously poured in half liter glasses. "Wurstmarkt" is a culinary extravaganza and keeps on attracting ever growing numbers of visitors throughout the world.

The name Wurstmarkt or sausage-market is a bit misleading, since it is in fact the largest wine festival in the world. On the fairground in the open or in tents local wine growers will let you taste the best wines of the regions. Many activities are planned for this year with life concerts, be it traditional German music or Dixieland style. Carousels and sweets will enjoy the small visitors, fried and barbecued sausages come in all shapes and sizes and a romantic firework with a glorious silver and golden light display will make it an unforgettable stay in Bad Dürkheim.

The roots of this event go far back to the year 1155, when the Monte sancti Michaelis was first documented. In those days pilgrims came every year to the small chapel on the mountain St. Michaelsberg to buy a letter of indulgence, which would free them of their sins. Since a large number of pilgrims came every year on the 29th of September, local farmers and wine growers seized the opportunity and sold mainly wine, sausages and bread, transported on wheel barrows. The event was called later in 1417 Michaelismarkt and attracted merchants, impostors and musicians. Already in the 16th century merchants from all over the Palatinate joined in the very popular fair. The range of the offered goods included back then oxen, horses, pigs and all products of local handicrafts. Finally, in 1577, the Michaelismarkt was moved to the nearby Brühlwiesen. At the end of the 18th century the fair was already held on 3 days, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.

The year 1832 was the first time that the name Wurstmarkt was officially used in Bad Dürkheim. The reason for that was simply the huge amount of sausages eaten during the fair! In 1879 the first Wurstmarktzeitung, a newspaper, was published and in 1882 was the first time a Nachmarkt, after-market, was held on the Sunday after the original 3 days weekend fair. At that time, a circus was the biggest attraction for the visitors. The only time when there were no sausages on sale, was after the Second World War, during which no fair was held. Because of the lack of meat the sausage-fair became a fish-fair in 1948 and every visitor could only purchase 1 bottle of wine. Time went by and in the year 1966 over 200,000 liters of wine were sold and nowadays the Wurstmarkt is undoubtedly the biggest wine festival in the world.

About this Article

Monika Petra

This travel guide has been written by Monika Petra.

In her own words: When children are born they receive certain gifts to put them to good use or not. In my cradle there must have been at least music and the curiosity for the world we live in. Luckily I could combine those gifts eventually. My live as a jazz vocalist guided me to see and experience many places in Germany and far beyond. As in my music I like to dive in the historical background of given facts, simply to understand the present. During my travel, my circles got wider and wider and since many years I am now living in Thailand, very interesting to say the least. I grew up in Paderborn, lived and studied Jazz in Cologne's Musikhochschule and worked a while in Bayreuth and Kulmbach. My travels throughout Germany took me to all major cities and small towns. It was the people and local differences, be it language, food, traditions and customs, which made it a lot of fun. When finally the wall came down, I was one of those in Berlin posing on the rests of it for the camera. Off course I took the first opportunity to rediscover the new but old states of Germany and finally understood the impact the wall had on all Germans and in regards to the worst part in German history. Being a German living abroad, I discovered in years what I value most about Germany. Rest assured it is a country of rich cultural background still alive today. I visit my home country regularly and stay in touch with my friends, even those back from school. Another thing I always felt passionate about is writing and sharing my experience and thoughts. The internet provides us all with a great opportunity to connect, tell stories, read and learn from others and grow as a global community.

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Location, Map, and Driving Directions

Location: Kurbrunnenstraße 14,  67098 Bad Dürkheim an der Weinstraße, Germany

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