Saturday, November 12, 2016

Volkfest 2016 - Stuttgart, Germany

When we moved to Germany nearly a year ago, we were arrived just shy of missing one of the region's most famous seasons – Oktoberfest. At the time, we weren't sure what we were missing, but we know we were definitely going to make it happen in 2016. And boy, did we!

Over this past year, we learned that the 'official' Oktoberfest is in Munich, a few hours from where we reside. However, here in our own town is the much more authentic version – Volksfest.

As time got closer, we also learned that beer tent tickets go on sale many months earlier and you actually have to buy them by the table. One table seats 10 people and costs a whopping €500! As that clearly wasn't in the cards for us, we did what most people do and wait for people to start selling individual extra tickets. The good thing is, each ticket comes with 3-4 liters of beer and half a delicious chicken.

I was lucky enough to be invited by a friend on opening weekend after her husband couldn't make it last minute. Even with a wake-up call and 30 minute's notice, I was all too eager to join!

We were meeting up with a few friends of theirs in the Zum Wasenwirt – Party Tent. The tent wasn't really a tent at all, but a large structure filled with cafeteria style long tables and a live band. Our table was up in the loft seating.

I felt a bit left out seeming to be of the very small minority not in traditional fest garb. Almost all the women were wearing gorgeous Dirndls, while the men wore handsome Lederhosen. Next year that will have to be remedied!

After being there for a few, I had a liter of beer in hand and I was coaxed to get up on the table and dance with everyone else.

I was really nervous, mostly due to my size. Thankfully, I succumbed to the peer pressure and never looked back! It's a whole different world up there, and you truly can't miss that experience.

Our reservation was for 11-4, but frankly we just weren't ready to leave! When the time came to give up our table, Stes and I managed to hop from table to table, joining random people for a fantastic night.

There really is something about standing on a table belting out “Sweet Caroline” with a few hundred drunk Germans!

I also discovered the dark side of the party tent- listen closely – SOME BENCHES AREN'T NAILED TO THE FLOOR. Which is beyond idiotic. And painful.

I think we finally headed home around 10 pm, exhausted but excited to do it again!

As luck would have it, another three tickets came up for sale for the following Saturday. Stes had her mom in and her husband had to work, but I was happy to pay for one of those to go with them.

This time we were in the Grandls Hofbrau Zelt tent. At first, our experience was quite similar. We had no intention of trying to push our stay as we did previously, but we certainly expected to stay until our reservation was up, which was 4pm.

However, a bit before 3, we were informed we couldn't be served anymore beer or chicken, despite the fact that we had our tokens still unused. Then around 3:15, they started kicking people out!

They wanted to shut the place down and clean it up before the next reservation started at 5, and didn't care that ours wasn't supposed to end yet.

We were rightfully very angry about our wasted money, but they wouldn't hear any of it. We were given small plastic cups for any remaining beer in hand and herding to the exits.

We tried not to let it ruin our good time and ended our day out in the wider festival with a few rides before heading home.

Wednesdays are 'family days' at fest, and that means half off games/rides! We couldn't wait to take the kids.

However, after two times there, I was pretty confident that my 2 year old would be rather left out. Furthermore, the best way of getting there is by bus, and a stroller really has no place on crowded public transportation here.

For those reasons, I decided it best to stay home with the little and finish recouping from that weekend, and rest up for the one upcoming.

Meanwhile, my husband, with a beautiful gifted Dirndl from our friend for her, picked Hailey up from school at the end of her day and whisked her off for an evening of fun.

I was sent many pictures and got the full lowdown upon their return. She had a blast! She even won her very own mp3 player from one of the games and rode a haunted house ride!

I think I was most impressed that he got her on the ferris wheel. Even I was too afraid to do it!

My last experience of 2016 Volkfest ended on a wonderful note. My husband and I managed to find a sitter and enjoy some kid free couple time on closing weekend.

Unfortunately these tickets were for that same Grandls tent that shortchanged us before, but at least I knew what to expect this time! So we ordered all our beers and food early, danced until our feet hurt, met some cool strangers and were kicked out promptly at 3pm. But there is plenty to see and do outside of those beer tents ;)

We will absolutely not miss this for the remaining years we live here! It was such a great time and a fantastic way to meet some locals. I loved getting to practice my German as well.

But, I will certainly do my best to avoid tickets for the Grandls tent if I can help it!


  1. Awww i miss the Volksfests in Germany!
    Beautiful pictures and so much info.
    Love it!

  2. As an avid beer drinker, I love Beerfests. We have them in South Africa too ;-) Fortunately the tickets are not that expensive and you don't get kicked out. That's just wrong, especially when you'r in a party mood, beer and singing tends to do that to me. Thanks so much for the share Jackie, I really enjoyed it.

  3. Jackie, Octoberfest or Germanfest was something that we did often as we were growing up. In Ohio and Michigan it was very popular and we grew up doing the polka. Here in Fort Wayne there is a week long Germanfest downtown, with tons to do. But your Germanfest sounds like something that needs to be experienced, how fun! I'm glad that you got to go and that your entire family got to take part, while in Germany...right? What great memories these will be.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your experience - and for sharing all the fun photographs as well! This reminded me of Oktoberfest in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada where I grew up. Thousands of people visit every year. I was so proud when I finally got a 'real' Dirndl! I've featured your post at this week's Hearth and Soul - thank you for sharing it!

  5. What a fun event! One of our ski resorts in the Salt Lake area hosts an Octoberfest. We attended once and had a great time. Thanks for sharing with SYC.