Ah, summer in Bavaria. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the Bavarians are festing. When most people think of Bavarian beer fests, they only think of Oktoberfest. But if you live in Bavaria, you know that "fest season" starts in May and ends with Oktoberfest. There are tons of fests all through the summer that are cheaper, less touristy, and all around better than Oktoberfest. The best one, in my opinion is held in August in a town called Straubing.
I was really excited about Straubing this year and couldn't wait to go-until I found out Fionn had to work through both weekends the fest would be held. A friend of mine heard my plight and invited me along with her group of friends. So I put on my dirndl, grabbed another friend whose husband was also working that weekend, and off we went to Straubing fest!
Grab your liter of beer and let's get this thang started!
This year the tents in Straubing were not taking reservations, which was actually kind of nice because you didn't have to wander through scores of reserviert signs looking for a free table. We got there early and managed to score a huge table near the stage. There is almost always live music in the tents, though the bands range from lederhosen clad guys playing traditional Bavarian tuba music to the odd 80s cover band (Germans love them some 80s cover bands).
Luckily while we were there it was Bavarian music instead of a heavily accented rendition of Living on ze Prayer...
When the party REALLY gets going, everyone stands on the tables to dance and sing along. It's fun but when you're drinking liters of beer, it's only a matter of time before someone falls off or spills their beer on you. Part of the ambiance, right?
Outside the tents is a giant, state fair-like atmosphere. There are rides, games, fair food, and in the case of Straubing, farming equipment demonstrations (c'mon, this IS Bavaria!). In some of the outer tents they had Bavarian culture demonstrations (like what we saw last year at Straubing) and you can buy all of your dirndl and lederhosen stuff (including pretzel jewelry!) and all manner of cooking and cleaning gadgets and gizmos from dudes giving live demonstrations.
This guy was demonstrating an iron on the girl's apron. They were unimpressed!
So yeah...Straubing is like a beer fest, state fair, farming equipment show, cultural demonstration, shopping mall, and giant As Seen on TV ad all in one. Something for everyone!! :)
We stayed for a few hours, had a grand old time, and then took the train back home. It's always funny riding the train during fest season, since it's full of dirndl and lederhosen clad people and no one bats an eye. I love that!
On the way home, I stopped to take a few pictures of beautiful, summery Bavaria. Man this place is gorgeous.
If you get the chance, definitely check out a Bavarian beer fest! Oktoberfest is great and all, but I personally love the smaller ones where you can move around and actually talk to people. As soon as the weather starts warming up in May you'll start seeing signs for Volksfests throughout the region. Oftentimes you can also find the info online on English speaking expat websites. They are so worth it though. This is one of my favorite parts of living in Bayern!
So, whatcha think? Ready to buy your dirndl and head to Bavaria? :)