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Dürkheimer Wurstfest -- Largest Wine Festival in Germany
You readers are probably looking at the title of this story and
thinking that I lost my mind -- "whaddya mean 'wurstfest'? It's a
wine festival, so why ain't it called a 'weinfest'?" Well, I'm not
the one to ask. I only know that it's been called a wurstfest as long as
can be remembered. Bottom line is the wurstfest is a load of fun and is
every bit as big as advertised. Using 'gallery' format, this is a quick
look at this annual festival that runs over two weekends each September.
The Dürkheimer Wurstfest
is held in the huge northern parking lot and fairgrounds just below the
hill from downtown. It has two sections of amusement rides (this
shot was taken from a ferris wheel), plus festival game booths, all sorts
of food and drink, and flea markets selling antiques, specialty items,
etc. The long white tents in the foreground are where the local
vineyards set up their wine bars.
background of the opening shot and in close up here is the famous Dürkheimer
Riesenfass, the world's biggest "barrel" and symbol of the
fair. It was a really beautiful sunny day, and not too hot,
either. By around 1PM, the crowds were getting super thick, so after
a bit of lunch, my group toured the Kurhaus and Schlossgarten. (see
more about these in the regular Bad Dürkheim
The next several
shots show some of the wine bars. There were three forms of them --
the Winzergarten, Fest-Tent, and Weingut. The Winzergarten, or
Vintner's Garden, was outdoor café style, a relaxed and charming
atmosphere with good food and plenty of wine from eight different local
This was the
interior to one of Fest-Tents (festival tent, about the size of a football
field inside), which reminded me of the tents in the Munich Oktoberfest.
Colorful interior, long row tables with happy people eating, drinking, and
singing, and live bands (what we Americans like to refer to as 'oom-pah-pah'
This is the
weingut section, where each vineyard had one long tent where they served
wine and soft drinks. The only food available there were pretzels
(there was a special name for them, but I didn't write them down).
The row tables inside were very tightly packed, and always full of
people. Seemed like everyone had their favorite wine... and they
drank lots of it.
See what I
mean? This is the one thing you gotta watch when you go...
wine sold in the weinguts comes in half-liter (pint-sized) glasses.
You read that right. Needless to say, we didn't get much of a chance
to do any sampling (I was designated driver, so I wasn't sampling anything
anyway). Obviously, this sort of activity won't find its way to the
states anytime soon... :-)
festival tents and the street bands, like this one, there was plenty of
music. As 4PM approached, the crowds were very thick, and we took
off. The line of cars getting in was about two miles long, so the
best advice is get there early!
unfavorable weather (incredibly hot and dry) this season, much of the
Rheinland stayed surprisingly green, and some claim that this turned out
to be a great year for wine. I shall take their word for it, but I
can say from experience that the wine *festival* is a great time.
The best source for details on the schedule of events, etc. is
through the Bad Dürkheim Home Page,
although it is in German. English sources on the event are fleeting, but
the Tourist Information Bureau has plenty of English speakers -- an e-mail or
call to the bureau through the links on the page should get you the answers you
Trip taken 14 September 2003 -- Page last
updated 01 September 2006 --
(C) 2003 Tom Galvin