Monday, September 24, 2012
Wine festival - Wurstmarkt
The other weekend I managed to get invited to attend a wine festival in Germany. However, it wasn't just any run-of-the-mill wine festival, it was the Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim--the largest wine festival in the world, otherwise known as the "Oktoberfest" for wine. Wikipedia mentions that the festival started in 1417 and boasts over 600,000 attendees.
I don't really know anything about wine festivals or German festivals in general so I didn't know what to expect other than the fact that there would presumably be a lot of wine and wine consumption.
What I wasn't expecting was a full-on carnival, with a plethora of spinning, flying, swinging rides which didn't seem like the best of ideas at an event dedicated to a specific alcoholic beverage. However, it somehow seemed to work out OK for the Germans with the demographic that was present.
Interestingly enough, the Wurstmarkt seemed to be a family affair with people of all ages present. Families with young children could be found eating fair food, playing games, and going on rides. While the wine tents were jam-packed with various grandmas and grandpas of all shapes and sizes. It just seemed like a unique event due to this fact--old people sipping or perhaps guzzling wine adjacent to loud raucous amusement park-like rides blaring loud music and sounds. It was almost surreal.
With an event called the Wurstmarkt you can imagine that wurst would somehow play a role, and it did. Fair food was in an abundance, with everything from what can be seen in the photos above (french bread "pizzas", frikadelles, various cylindrical meats) along with German flatbreads, 1 meter long wursts, and a various assortment of diabetes-inducing sweets and candies.
I'm not much of a drinker but I imbibed a small bit and can say from 4 sampled wines that there is some pretty good stuff to be found in Germany. This wasn't always the case, but that's a history lesson that should be saved for another time.
The Wurstmarkt was a unique experience which has my approval. The Oktoberfest is currently going on in Munich and while I don't think I'll be attending, I can imagine the event would be very similar to the Wurstmarkt but on a much grander scale.