Kölner Frühlingsvolksfest is Cologne’s largest fun fair, running April 8-10, April 13-16 and April 21-22 in the German city.

Kölner Frühlingsvolksfest is Cologne’s largest fun fair, running April 8-10, April 13-16 and April 21-22 in the German city. (iStock)

Birdsong, buds and blossoms are all welcome signs of spring, but they aren’t the only signals of the longer days and warmer weather soon coming our way. Although generally not as famous or as well-attended as their autumnal cousins, dozens of cities will soon host lively volksfests offering the usual assortment of high-tech rides and carnival classics, games of skill and chance, sizzling bratwursts and sweet treats, and tents where live music rings out and frothy beer flows. Here’s a look at some of the fairs coming to nearby towns and dates of various special events or offers.

Frankfurt Dippemess: Since as far back as the 14th century, Frankfurt’s citizens have frequented a market at which they could stock up on various household goods. The tradition lives on in the form of the Dippemess, a volksfest at which wares including a sturdy earthenware pottery continue to be sold. Its dozen or so rides should offer enough thrills for even the bravest of souls. The spring edition of Frankfurt’s oldest and largest volksfest runs March 31-April 23. As its location, the Festplatz am Ratsweg, is short on parking facilities, visitors might wish instead to take the U7 metro or tram 12. The fair is open daily with the exception of April 3, 7 and 17. Online:

Frühjahrsmesse Speyer: There’s yet another good reason to visit this historic city April 6-23, as this volksfest offering the eagerly-awaiting classics from swings to giant Ferris wheel takes up its usual place at the Klipfelsau, just a short walk from the cathedral. The fair remains closed throughout the day on Good Friday, April 7. Online:

Kölner Frühlingsvolksfest: The Deutzer Werft will hum with activity as the spring fair works its magic alongside the Rhine in sight of the city’s famous cathedral. Cologne’s largest fun fair opens its gates April 8-10, April 13-16 and April 21-22. The Deutz/Messe train station is within easy walking distance of the fairgrounds. Online:

Nürnberger Volksfest: What brands itself as Germany’s cleanest, safest and most innovative volksfest is also the second-largest such event in Bavaria. Its mix of classic and modern attractions, regional specialties and a varied program of side activities each day will pull in visitors from far and wide April 8-23. Theme days include an international day at which partner city Cordoba, Spain, is the guest of honor on April 13; a night with lights and musical fireworks on April 14; and a ladies’ night April 20, when many attractions will offer up to half-price discounts for women and girls. All Wednesdays are family days, with reduced prices on rides and games. Online:

Oecher Bend: Aachen’s beloved volksfest promises fun for young and old alike April 8-24. Special events include children’s days with costumed walking acts from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. on both April 11 and April 18 and a fireworks show on April 24. Wednesdays are family days, with reduced prices on many rides, games and attractions. As parking is limited near the fair’s location at Aachen Bendplatz, consider taking bus lines 7, 17, 27, 37, 47 or 33 to reach the grounds. Online:

Wiesbadener Frühlingsfest: Residents of the state of Hesse have a very short window in which to enjoy their spring volksfest, which unfolds at Elsässer Platz April 14-17. Games of skill and chance compete with the Ferris wheel and other rides for a visitor’s hard-earned cash.

Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest: The Cannstatter Wasen just outside town is the place to be April 22-May 14, as the 83rd edition of this gigantic and well-loved fair unfolds. Good dates to plan a visit might include April 26, May 3 or May 10, when family-friendly attractions offer reduced prices, or May 14, when fireworks set to music set skies alight at 9:30 p.m. Adults can enjoy the delights of five different fest tents, each with its own vibe and special culinary treats. Grandls Hofbräu Zelt offers live entertainment every evening. Online:

Münchner Frühlingsfest: Just like the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich’s spring volksfest takes place at the Theresienwiese, a vast fairgrounds located well within city limits. From April 21-May 5, visitors will delight to rides, games, festival tents and longstanding traditional events. Special happenings include a vast flea market which gets underway from 7 a.m. April 22, or April 30, when the sounds of Bavarian music will fill the air. The Festhalle Bayernland also offers a daily program of live music. Online:

Lautrer Kerwe: Kaiserslautern’s biannual volksfest is set to bring smiles to the Messeplatz May 12-22. In addition to the rides, games and food stands is found a small marketplace selling clothing, accessories, spices, homewares and more. Festivities close, as per tradition, with a display of fireworks. Online:

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now