Categories: Dining, Entertainment, General Travel Info
[ source: Wikipedia]
Location and History
The Bavarian town of Erlangen (Erlangen vacation rentals | Erlangen travel guide) has been hosting a beer festival since 1755. Instead of battling the Oktoberfest crowds throughout Germany, why not arrange to go to the Erlangen Beerfestival, which takes place in late May or early June each year. Starting 5 days before Pentecost, and continuing for 12 days, the Erlangen Beerfestival draws over a million visitors each year. The town itself has a population of around 100,000. This beer festival began 55 years before Munich's beer festival, and is the third largest fair in Germany in general.
By the 1800s, Erlangen became the leading producer of beer in all of Bavaria, with more than 50 breweries. Just two of the independent breweries from this time period, Kitzmann and Steinbach, continue on. The others became part of larger commercial breweries.
The Festival itself takes place in the northernmost part of Erlangen called Bergkirchweih. With seating for more than 11,000 visitors, Bergkirchweih has the largest open-air beer garden in Europe, yet is a little-known gem. Most Bavarians consider the commercial-oriented Oktoberfest of Munich (Munich vacation rentals | Munich travel guide) too crowded, and opt for the more down-to-earth, family-oriented Erlangen Beerfestival.
Day 1 - “Anstitch”
An opening ceremony takes place on the first day of the Festival. With an introduction from Erlangen's mayor, the first barrel is tapped. This is referred to as “Anstitch”, literally, “tapping.” Beer from a different local brewery is featured each year. If you are present at Anstitch, you can hope to be one of the lucky recipients of a free beer from the first barrel.
Is your picture of Bavaria Lederhosen and oompah bans? You will experience exactly this and more during the week. Besides music, bratwurst, Brezen (pretzels) and beer from many local cellars, the Festival has a variety of booths and rides. One of the landmarks of the Festival is the gigantic Ferris wheel.
A mix of tourists, locals, and families are present enjoying the fair, the beer, and the beautiful setting up on the “Berg," or hill, in the lush Bavarian countryside. “Ober," the skilled waiters, carry up to 12 krug filled with beer balanced against their chest to the long tables.
On the following weekend, the Festival closes with a solemn burial of the last barrel of beer in a cellar where Anstitch will take place the following year. Then the countdown till next year's Festival begins.
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Bettina Kraft likes to write Germany related travel articles on Live Like a German - a site for exploring Germany, to learn more about its culture / language, and to find a great Germany vacation rental or holiday apartment when going on a Germany vacation. Bettina likes to help visitors from all over the world to experience Germany in a different, more personal way, and make it easy for them to do so by providing detailed travel tips and advise.
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