Bad Kissingen, Germany, hosts its 62nd Rakoczy-Fest Friday through Sunday.

In the town’s glory days of the mid-to-late 1800s, royalty and politicians would make their way to this welcoming spa town to combine health regimens with recreation. Their presence is resurrected at this quirky, annual fest, when it’s not unusual to spot costumed figures dressed as Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Empress Elisabeth of Austria or King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

Ceremonies begin at the marketplace on Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a horsemanship display at Luitpoldpark. Just before 10 p.m., enjoy the sight of 3,000 tea lights floating down the Saale River.

On Saturday night, there’s a fancy dress ball at the Regentenbau; at the same time, venues will offer live music. Stands selling food, beer, wine or other forms of refreshment will be nearby.

A highlight of the fest is Sunday’s parade. Starting at 2:30 p.m., see costumed figures from history march and ride in horse-drawn carriages, accompanied by folk performers and musicians. A fireworks display at 10:15 p.m. marks the event’s end.

A souvenir pin that goes for 2 euros provides entry to most of the events, although tickets are required for the ball and a few other activities. Learn more at, which has an English option.

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