Spring Fests in Baden-Württemberg
One word you learn almost instantly upon arrival in Germany is “fest!” Although auto-correct will try to change it into everything imaginable “fest” in Germany is synonymous with “good times.” Pretty much every weekend in every season there is a fest somewhere celebrating with almond blossoms to vegetables and everything in between. There’s even a season, German’s call, “Fasching” but, that’s another blog. Spring is one of my favorite times of year here because we are saying goodbye to the long, gray, tiresome winter and welcoming in buds of all shapes and sizes. Whether it is flowers, fruits or vegetables, spring brings delicious, beautiful and happy times. Here are three of my favorites.
Almond Blossomfest – Gimmeldingen – Neustadt
This is the second year in a row I’ve been able to go to the Almond Blossomfest in Gimmeldingen-Neustadt on the Weinstraße. This year my family joined me and we had a ball. It’s quite cold and windy, do not forget to wear layers, although some of the tents have heaters. After a few pretty almond spritzers, we warmed up anyway. This adorably, quaint town is lined with winery and vintners who open their stores for the fest. Here you can sample and taste their wine as well as enjoy all kinds of food. Yesterday, we tried the Speisebraten (roasted pork butt in a sandwich with yogurt dressing) and funnel cakes. My husband tried a BBQ sandwich and said it was the best he’s tasted in Germany.
Pop-up musical trio’s dot the streets and you are serenaded while you walk through vendors of soap, crafts, jewelry, vinegars, oils and almond liquor vendors. As we walked through the town, the church bells rang and at 1400 the “Mandelblutenfest Köningin” (the Almond Blossom Queen) announced the official start of the fest. If you are interested in attending next year, be sure to “like” their FaceBook page because the dates change according to weather every year. I also signed up for their mailing list and was notified by e-mail that it would be “this” weekend. Unfortunately, with our weather here, it can determine when these fest’s pop up.
Gimmeldingen-Neustadt is close to Kaiserslautern and Ramstein but is also a little over an hour from Stuttgart. Upon approach into town, policemen will guide you to parking in the vineyards and then you will walk into town. We clocked about 14,000 steps yesterday but we didn’t mind since we taste-tested almost everything.
Cherry Blossom Fest – Mösbach in the Black Forest
Another favorite of mine is the Cherry Blossom Fest, this year it is Sunday, April 17th at 11 a.m. This is in the very small town of Mösbach, in the north Black Forest. Specializing in all things cherry, we tasted everything from pork loin in a cherry sauce to the famous Black Forest cake. By the way, they are not kidding with the “cherry fire water” or the “Kirschwasser.” Cherry schnapps is luscious and is the “not-so-secret” ingredient used in the legendary cake.
Kinder options are available and there are several children’s rides as well. Last year, we paid a small entrance fee, €3/person and got a fest map that indicated all the vendors and activities. They shut down the town for foot traffic and we walked the streets investigating. The parade began at 1300 and was a lot of fun, the mayor, the high school band and the church choir all came out. It reminded me of “field days” in the states, a local celebration we were privy to be a part. The floats were fun and costumes ornate, but my favorite was the cow and tractor that ended the parade. Definitely, old school.
Crocus blossom Fest – Zavelstein
It’s no secret this little town of Zavelstein is one I adore. Only 30 to 45 minutes from my home, it is my “go-to” gotta hike village. When you live a half hour from the Black Forest and live in Germany you must go, it’s required. Only kidding. This ancient town is so small, in the states we would say “don’t blink you’ll miss it.” But to me, it’s darling with trails, castle ruins and yummy eateries, what’s not to like?
Having been several times and learning more and more about Zavelstein, it was only natural I discovered they would be having a small spring fest to celebrate the crocuses. The Krokusblüte fest is basically a walk/hike, celebrated with soup and a school band. Not too much of grand celebration like other fest’s, this one brings nature enthusiasts together to enjoy the blossoms and fellowship.
This fest is typically celebrated the third weekend in March, however, because the weather is always a contributing factor, you may find out it’s earlier or later. There is a €3/person fee mostly because this is a little town fund-raiser that helps with tourism. The hike loops the “crocus fields,” the ruins and the old city wall, it is a 60 minute hike and an easy, stroller-friendly 3.8km walk. Free restrooms can be found in the Rathaus right next to the castle ruins. One of my favorite places to catch a bite is the Wanderheim Zavelstein, part of the Berlin family of restaurants in the region, the food, patio, playground and service all combine to make this place a keeper.
Zavelstein also has an antique store and one of my favorite pottery places, the Töpferei Barbel Hill. Barbel has become a friend and has made specific pieces for me that I treasure. One of the trails you can hike leads to Bad-Teinach the little valley village below. The 1000 year old stairs that lead you into Bad-Teinach remind me of scenes from the movie Robin Hood.
Other upcoming spring fests of the region
Spargelfest – (white asparagus) Brüchsal, Banquet hall Büchenau, 76646 Bruchsal, June 4 – 5, 11 a.m.
Erdbeerefest – (strawberries) Esslingen market square, June 11, 9:30 – 6:00 p.m.
I’m in Mosbach and don’t see any fest anywhere and the locals said it isn’t here and they haven’t heard of it…too far to drive to find no fest and everything closed!
Hope you went to Mösbach and not Mosbach!