Along with cherry blossoms, the arrival of Spargelzeit and the opening of biergartens, Germany's Spring Festivals are a sure sign that warmer weather is on its way. The king of the season is Stuttgart's Spring Festival, better known as Stuttgarter Frühlingsfest.
This event is the junior to a fall festival known as Cannstatter Wasen in the local dialect. It began in 1818 by King Wilhelm I and the Spring event is known as the "small Wasen" which features a similar atmosphere to Oktoberfest.
This is the largest spring festival in Europe and attracts around 1.5 million visitors each year.
Follow this guide to Stuttgart Spring Festival to enjoy the best of the Fest.
Attractions at Stuttgart Spring Festival
The Frühlingsfest has stalls and stalls of delicious food and sweets, live Schlager music and performances and - of course - beer. Just like Oktoberfest, there are beer tents and endless Maßkrüge (1-liter mugs).
Beer Tents at Stuttgart Spring Festival
Admission is free, but during high times the tents may reach capacity. Visitors can easily find a spot before 16:00 - just cozy up on the benches to the other drinker. To ensure you have a spot in the evening, make a reservation at your favorite tent.
- Almhüttendorf - Featuring an alpine atmosphere (complete with Edelweiß sign), this tent has Tyrolean specialties in ski lodge decor.
Grandls Hofbräu Zelt - One of the most popular and raucous tents.
Göckelesmaier - Provides a typical Volksfest experience.
Wasenwirt - Sponsered by SWR3 radio station, this is where the party is at.
Rides at Stuttgart Spring Festival
The fairgrounds are not just a place to drink, there are great rides to go with your alcohol consumption. A time-honored - if a bit nauseating - German festival tradition, the biggest attraction is the massive 47-meter Ferris wheel.
Riders can observe the grounds from above, as well as the other rides.
Wasenhasi of Stuttgart's Spring Festival
The official mascot of the Cannstatter Volksfest, this Tracht wearing bunny rabbit is straight from the imagination of Baden-Witemburg native, Gecko Keck (alias Gerhard Wörner). Wasenhasi and his girlfriend Hasi adorn many of the goods and even walk the grounds ready for every picture opportunity.
Market at Stuttgart Spring Festival
Krämermarkt began with the Wasen. It is a traders' market of everything imaginable form clothing to leather goods to jewellery to gifts. Look for the row of booths near König Karls Bridge and shop away.
When is the Stuttgart Spring Festival?
This 78th annual fair usually occurs mid-April to the beginning of May and will be kicking this season into high gear on April 16th, 2016. On the opening Saturday there is the traditional tapping of the keg by the mayor of Stuttgart. Once the beer starts flowing, it doesn't stop til May 8th.
When planning your visit, keep in mind special events like the opening day with the ceremonial tapping of kegs. Also, watch for family days. On every Wednesday there are family days with special offers for parents (like discounted parking) and children (half-price rides).
Look for face painters, a fairy tale carousel and rides like the children’s railway. There are even kid's menus at many of the food stalls.
Where is the Stuttgart Spring Festival?
The festival takes place on the grounds of Cannstatter Wasen, the traditional fairgrounds on the banks of the Neckar river in the city's Bad Cannstatt district.
To reach the festival grounds from Stuttgart Hauptbahnhof (main train station):
- By S-Bahn - S1, S2 or S3 S-Bahn services to Bad Cannstatt station
- Regional Trains - R1, R2, R3 or R8 trains to Bad Cannstatt station
- U-Bahn - Closest stations are Cannstatter Wasen (U11), NeckarPark (U11 and U19), Haltestelle Bad Cannstatt Wilhelmsplatz (U1, U2, U3, U19), Mercedesstraße (U1, U2, U11)
Visitor Info for Stuttgart Spring Festival
- Festival website: stuttgarter-fruehlingsfest.de
- Festival Hours: Monday to Friday opens at noon and closes at 23:00; Weekends and holidays opens at 11:00 and closes at midnight
- Musical performances end in the main tents 30 minutes before closing