For the weekend: German wine; Czech liberation festival and Belgian soap box derby
May 2, 2012
Pick your wine eventIt’s already May; have you attended your first wine-related outing of 2012? You can this weekend by choosing among a traditional wine fest, a fun fair or a tasting event in Germany. Just northeast of Trier, the Mosel town of Schweich holds its Festival of the Roman Route on Friday through Sunday. Food and drink stands open at 5 p.m. Friday. Highlight of the day will be the crowning of the festival’s wine queen at 8 p.m. Two stages will offer live music late into the night. The program kicks off again at 5 p.m. Saturday. Sunday’s festivities get under way at 11 a.m. and include an “open Sunday,” so shopping can be on the agenda as well. In Landau in der Pfalz, enjoy the town’s Maimarkt through Monday. It offers scary rides, stalls peddling clothing, household goods and miscellaneous baubles, and, not least, a traditional Weindorf, or wine village.For a more up-market day out, head to the Badische Weinmesse, or Baden Wine Fair, in Offenburg. Sample Sekts, wines and brandies from the Baden wine-growing region and beyond. Pair your drink with some of the fine culinary products offered, from olive oils and cheese to chocolate. The event takes place 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Offenburg’s Baden-Arena. One-day admission costs 15 euros. Children up to age 12 get in free when accompanied by an adult.
Pilsen liberationThe Liberation Festival in Pilsen, Czech Republic, celebrates the U.S. Army’s liberation of the city in May 1945 and runs Friday through Sunday. The festival, held since 1990, has attracted many American veterans and their families. As the number of World War II veterans robust enough to make the journey to Pilsen has dwindled, the focus has expanded to add re-creations of camps, snapshots of civilian life at the time, concerts and handicrafts.Highlights include meeting WWII veterans on Friday starting at 5 p.m. at City Hall, the arrival of military vehicles making up the Convoy of Liberty at Republic Square at about 7 p.m. on Saturday and a military market Sunday. A “Thank you, America!” ceremony takes place at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. If you can’t make it to the festival, visit its website at liberationfestival.com. The feature “From D-Day to V-Day” traces the Allied forces’ journey as they liberated Europe. An important part of this endeavor is “The Memories Archive: Back in ’45,” a compilation of recollections connected with the end of World War II in western Bohemia.
Soap Box DerbyBrussels, Belgium’s Iris Festival celebrates its 20th year with a varied program. At 1 p.m. Saturday, all ages can enjoy the Red Bull Soap Box Derby on the Mont des Arts. The home-built racing cars are nonmotorized and preferably wacky — a jury will evaluate participants on speed, creativity and the reaction of the spectators. At the Place des Palais, enjoy live music starting at 7:15 p.m. Sunday, you’ll find more musical acts, clowns, magicians and folkloric groups. Younger visitors might not want to budge from the “Children’s Village,” with its trampolines, bouncy castles and a balloon artist.