Ifyou’re looking for the ultimate boys holiday, you may want to take a look at the Stuttgart Fruhlingsfest, a proper German beer festival similar to Oktoberfest but with less tourists and easier to get around. Imagine a dozen conference-centre sized tents packed with thousands of people in traditional German dress, each there with the intention of drinking as much lager as possible and everyone is just up for one giant party.
Our experience at the Stuttgart beer festival was as part of a stag party, with 15 other lads all dressed in lederhosen. You may have thought that dressing up was exclusively for tourists, but the locals take this incredibly seriously and nearly everyone was in traditional dress, intricate and detailed lederhosen for the men and girls dressed up to the nines in rather eye-catching dirndls.
With the main event not kicking off until 5pm, we took the opportunity to explore the festival site. The main beer tents are surrounded by acres upon acres of fairground rides, rollercoaster’s, food vendors and of course many smaller bars. The fairground attractions are no ordinary travelling fair though, the rides are something like you would expect to see at Thorpe Park or Alton Towers – perhaps not such a great idea after a few pints.
The food is great too, especially the traditional German dishes. There’s a heavy emphasis on sausage with dozens of different variations available. Barbecued chicken, crepes and many other types of food are also available. However, the main reason most people visit is for the beer, so much of the afternoon is spent sampling the local brews.
When our table is ready, we take our places in the main beer hall. Booking ahead is essential, and with the booking comes three litres of beer and half a chicken each so when we arrive, we are all issued with tokens to exchange for the pre-paid food and drinks. At the front of the tent, a band comes on stage and start playing a mixture of English songs and German songs which we became very familiar with over the weekend, most of which have accompanying dance moves.
The next seven hours were spent singing, dancing on the benches and meeting some very friendly locals. Almost everyone we met spoke good English and everyone without exception was in a great mood and up for partying. If this event was held in Britain, it would almost certainly be full of fights and drunken disorderly behaviour, but this was one big celebration.
Stuttgart is a beautiful city with great parks as well as amazing nightlife and well worth making a full holiday of around the beer festival. Just don’t forget your lederhosen!
Two festivals a year one in Spring and one in Autumn. The next dates are Sept 28th – Oct 14th. Go forth and drink beer!