Categories: Family and Kids, Entertainment
[ source: Wikipedia]
Wine festivals and markets abound in Germany, but few of them can claim to be nearly as large or old as the Duerkheimer Wurstmarkt. This wine festival in the Pfalz area has been celebrated for over 570 years at this point, and it is one of the largest public festivals in Germany. Every year in September, crowds of wine aficionados converge on the Duerkheimer Wurstmarkt to sample over 150 different wines served at over 50 different vending locales, featuring exclusively local wines and sparkling wines from Bad Duerkheim. The locations range from big wine halls to traditional "Schubkaerchler," which are small stands with long wooden tables and benches. The Weindorf, or Wine Village, also offers an array of larger tents that can be enjoyed. For the smaller visitors that may be in tow, the Wurstmarkt features a traveling fairground, which is quite popular with the younger set.
Bad Duerkheim might seem like an unusual location for what some consider to be the world's largest wine market, attracting over 600,000 visitors every year. The town lies in the Palatinate Forest about 30 km east of Kaiserslautern (Kaiserslautern vacation rentals | Kaiserslautern travel guide). At the center of the Pfalz, the Duerkheimer Wurstmarkt is easily reachable by train or by bus, thus there is no need to be concerned about combining the rich wines and automobile travel. Bad Duerkheim has its roots in ancient Celtic culture, and the town offers an array of ancient and medieval sites for those that are interested. One of these sites, St. Michael's Chapel, is linked to the origin of the Duerkheimer Wurstmarkt. Until the 15th century, pilgrims visited this hilltop church on St. Michael's Day (September 29). As time passed, a festival was organized every September near the base of the Michaelsberg.
Besides the wine locales, the Wurstmarkt offers a changing program of cultural events. Concerts and live music performances provide musical accompaniment to the clinking of wine glasses. On the Mondays during the fair, the Literary Fruehschoppen convenes. At 10 am, various well-know Pfalz writers and poets gather, and read from and discuss their stories, songs, and poems.
Despite the supplemental activities, everyone knows that one travels to the Duerkheimer Wurstmarkt to sample the rich regional wine culture. This can be done in various types of locales. The Schubkarch stalls are the traditional environments. There are 36 of these historic win stalls, and each can accommodate 120 people. The Weindorf stands are larger and are operated by various wineries from around the region. Two large wine halls and one large beer hall provide a bigger space for wine sampling. Lastly, one can seek out the Winegrower's Garden, a courtyard area with seating for 1,000 people with a glittering wine pavilion and circular bar located at the center.
September is a very pleasant time of year in Germany, so if you happen to find yourself in the country during the late summer, be sure to add the Duerkheimer Wurstmarkt to your itinerary.
About this Article
This travel guide has been written by Rachel Hildebrandt.
Starting with her first trip to Germany at the age of 16, Rachel has traveled, worked, and studied in Germany extensively. Although her first encounter with German culture was in Lower Saxony, since that time the focus of her subsequent work as a freelance historian and translator has shifted eastward. Building on her graduate studies in Dresden, Rachel has worked for a variety of German foundations as a historian and translator, and is currently pursuing research pertaining to the Sorbs in Lusatia (eastern Saxony).
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