Best Bets for the weekend of July 16-18
Denmark: It will look a lot like Christmas at the Bakken Amusement Park near Copenhagen this Monday through Wednesday when an international group of Kris Kringles arrives for the annual World Santa Claus Congress.
There’s no rest for Santas, even in the summer, as they will be attending meetings, mingling with the park’s visitors and taking early Christmas requests. The Santas will also march in parades, dance around Christmas trees and compete for the World Santa Championship title.
About 7½ miles north of Copenhagen in Klampenborg, Bakken claims the title of the world’s oldest amusement park, first opening in 1583. Today it features 33 rides, gaming halls, free entertainment and 40 restaurants and bars. Entry to the park is free. Those wanting to go on the rides can buy a wristband for 199 Danish kroner (about $35) Monday through Friday and 219 Danish kroner on weekends and in high season (through Aug. 15).
Find more details on the congress at www.worldsantaclauscongress.com; details on the park at www.bakken.dk. Both have English-language sections.
Germany: Stay cool sipping beer along the banks of the Rhine at the 12th Mainz Beer Fair, which runs Friday through the weekend. More than 60 stands along the banks between the Hilton Hotel and Fischtorplatz will sell 400 brands of international beers, ranging from exotic brews such as the Danish beer Slupp oil and the Moroccan Casablanca to the more traditional Belgian Stella Artois, Mexican Corona and Irish Guinness. The Haus der 131 Biere offers about 200 international bottled beers. There are also lots of places to buy beer-themed souvenirs: T-shirts, mugs, posters, pins, watches and more. The fair is open 3 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. More information is available at the Bier Boerse (Beer Fair) website, www.bierboerse.com.
• Originally an agricultural and horse market, the Erbacher Wiesenmarkt in the Odenwald town of Erbach has turned into a big and popular folk festival, which this year begins Friday and continues through July 25. The fair features about 200 dealers selling products ranging from household goods, foods and gifts to farming equipment. Entertainment includes pony rides, amusement rides, a Ferris wheel and the stomach-dropping “Mixer,” which turns the riders upside down. Also on the program are an opening-day parade, beer and food stalls, musical entertainment and equestrian events. This year, to mark the 100th anniversary of the event, there will be horse racing on the final day. Find more details at www.wiesenmarkt.eu.
Italy: At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the Madonna of Carmine, carried by monks, leaves her home on the altar of the Sant’ Agata church to travel through Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood to the basilica of San Crisogono. The procession marks the beginning of the annual Festa de’Noantri, a festival that celebrates the statue, which legend says was caught in the nets of fishermen on the Tiber River and taken to Sant’Agata. Until July 26, the streets of the neighborhood will be filled with stalls, music, theater and open-air pubs, all creating a lively and colorful atmosphere. On the last day, the party ends when the Madonna is carried home at 7 p.m. in a return procession. For details, go to www.festadenoantri.it (in Italian).