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Stuttgart: Festival to feature beer, rides and food

STUTTGART, Germany — There’s another beer festival revved up and ready to go.

The Cannstatter Volksfest opens Saturday and runs daily through Oct. 8. It’s a lot like its bigger cousin in Munich, the famous Oktoberfest, but with some differences.

The Stuttgart festival is not as huge; organizers say 3.5 million visitors go each year to the Volksfest, while the Oktoberfest advertises an annual attendance of 6.1 million.

That doesn’t mean the Volksfest is small. There will be more than 330 vendors, rides and other attractions on the 40-acre site, known as the Cannstatter Wasen.

“For Stuttgart people, it is ‘in’ to go there,” said Susanne Schweitzer, a spokeswoman with the city’s tourist office. “You have to be there once in the year, that’s for sure.

“And it brings in a lot of foreign tourists. It’s hard to find a hotel room.”

Each year the Volksfest, or people’s festival, starts one week later than Oktoberfest and ends one week later.

The Volksfest has four large festival halls, commonly known as beer tents, compared with 14 tents at Oktoberfest. Yes, beer is served in a 1-liter glass mug called a mass (pronounced “moss”). There’s also a wine tent for those who prefer grapes to hops.

And the Volksfest, like Oktoberfest, has plenty of amusement rides, haunted houses and food vendors. There’s a “French Village” that serves an array of food beyond traditional favorites such as Spätzle and Maultaschen.

The Volksfest has been around for a while as well.

While the Oktoberfest began in 1810 and has had 173 renditions, including this year’s, the Volksfest began in 1818, and this year’s event will be the 161st.

Sunday’s activities will begin with a large, traditional folk festival parade that will proceed through Bad Cannstatt to the Wasen.

This year — as with every third year — there will be an agriculture festival held next to the Volksfest. While admission to the Volksfest is free, the agricultural festival costs 11 euros to enter, less for younger people and groups, and free for children 6 and under.

Farm animals will be on display and can be petted, and people from the region will be demonstrating bread-baking, wine-making and other skills.


Cannstatter Volksfest

What: Cannstatter Volksfest, Stuttgart.

When: Daily through Oct. 8.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to midnight weekends and German holidays.

Where: Cannstatter Wasen, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt

Web site: www.cannstatter-volksfest.de (in German only).

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