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Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest, which began as an agricultural fair, is trumpeted today as one of the largest beer and folk festivals in the world.

The fest, which has free admission, runs through Oct. 9 at the city’s Wasen fairgrounds. The festivities are centered on an almost 80-foot column colorfully decorated with fruit, a symbol of the event since its opening in 1818.

Popular with families, the Cannstatter Volksfest offers nine beer tents, an outdoor market and a multitude of carnival rides for children and adults. With all that going on, it has the reputation of being the second largest Schaustellerfest (carnival) in Europe, after Munich’s Oktoberfest.

The festival opens at noon weekdays and at 11 a.m. on weekends. Beer tents open at 11 a.m. The festivities end at 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and at midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Wednesday is family day.

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