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STUTTGART, Germany — For those who can’t make it to Munich for the Oktoberfest, another very large beer festival starts Saturday in Stuttgart.

The 159th Stuttgart Beer Festival, also known as the Cannstatter Volksfest, features football-size tents filled with beer-drinking people dancing on tables to live music.

There are dozens of carnival rides and piles of local Schwabian food favorites such as cheese noodles and roasted pork.

The festival runs daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Oct. 10.

For people who live near Kaiserslautern, Heidelberg and Frankfurt, the good news is that the Volksfest in Stuttgart is about two hours closer than Munich.

“It’s one of the most beautiful and biggest beer festivals in the world,” said Karin Stolz, a spokeswoman for the city of Stuttgart.

“We have 333 different exhibits. There are merry-go-rounds and roller coasters. We have the largest transportable Ferris wheel in world.”

And there are also beer tents that hold up to 5,000 people each, where 1-liter mugs are served with local brews such as Schwabing Brau and Stuttgarter Hofbrau.

“In the tents, people are singing traditional songs and dancing on the tables and benches and having fun and drinking beer,” Stolz said.

Outside the tents are beer gardens for a slightly more relaxed environment.

One of the festival’s highlights will come Sunday when the large, traditional folk parade starts downtown and winds its way to the festival grounds, known as the Cannstatter Wasen.

The parade will feature horse-drawn brewery floats as groups from the region dress in traditional garb.

Stolz said that hotel rooms are available in the city, and reservations can be made by calling (+49) 0711-222-8233.

Information: http://www.stuttgart-tourist.de/english/stuttgart/festivals/beerfestival.html

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