• Germany's news in English
 

Celebrating spring with flowers and wine in Werder

Published: 24 Apr 2008 16:06 GMT+02:00

Let’s be honest. This spring has been fairly miserable as far as weather goes. Snow at Easter? Hail the size of ice cubes every other week? It’s enough to make you want a drink.

Fortunately, the temperatures are on the rise and there’s a perfect place to enjoy both nature and some booze: the Baumblütenfest, or Tree Blossom Festival, in Werder (Havel) in Brandenburg.

The festival takes place from April 26 to May 4 this year and it’s only a short train ride away from Berlin. The event has no pretensions – it’s exactly what its name suggests; a celebration of spring, the blossoming of fruit trees, and local fruit wine, which is the star of the show. Time honoured tradition dictates that anyone attending should get completely sloshed. After all, it is a German festival.

The area around Werder is known for its fruit orchards that cover the hills surrounding the village and during the festival family run stalls line the streets offering their homemade blends. Almost every local family with an orchard has its own brand of hooch.

If you don’t happen to be a connoisseur of fruit wines the extensive range can be mind-blowing. Varieties include strawberry, raspberry, plum, blackberry, plus loads others you might never have thought possible. But don’t be afraid you might go blind drinking them – all are extremely palatable. You could easily spend your entire time at the festival sipping on these exotic delights, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Think nasty fruit wine hangover.

The festival began in 1879 and Werder council says its 129th year could be possibly the biggest ever. It started when an old farmer named Wilhelm Wils hit upon the idea of hosting a fruit wine festival. He convinced the other fruit growers to join in and the festival quickly grew in size and popularity. Only during East Germany’s four-decade existence did its popularity lapse, apparently since consuming excess amounts of alcohol was frowned upon by the dour communist government.

But these days, the festival is said to be the second biggest such event in Germany, eclipsed only by Munich’s mighty Oktoberfest. Last year over 800,000 people attended the Baumblütenfest, but it’s not the size that makes the festival special. It’s the beauty of walking down streets lined with cherry blossom trees, as the pungent smells of fresh and fermented fruit waft up your nose. It’s enough to make our lousy spring this year just a hazy memory.

While plenty of opportunities to sample fruit wine exist, picking ripe fruit is another popular activity. Walking through the gardens is a great way to spend the afternoon and there’s a great view of the whole town from up on the hill. For those seeking speedier entertainment, in the town square there’s a rollercoaster, a Ferris wheel, and other rides you’ll find at your average German fair. But my past experience says don’t try these after too much wine.

The opening ceremony will be held on April 26, which contains the kitschy and thoroughly stimulating event of the crowning of the Blossom Festival Queen. This nubile young flower is carefully plucked by group of local old ladies, who then push her onto stage into the awaiting hands of a town council official.

There will then be ten days of music performances and other entertainment. Check out Werder’s website for the full programme of events. On the last night of the festival there’s a firework show – and if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet the Blossom Queen.

Getting There:

It’s advisable to take the train to Werder, which is around 35 kilometres southwest of Berlin. Driving isn’t recommended as most people will be having a few drinks and a lot of the town roads are blocked off and checked by police. You should also buy a return train ticket for your journey, since Werder (Havel) only has one ticket machine at its dinky train station.

If you’re visiting Berlin at this time, the festival makes an excellent day trip – the wines are too good to miss. From Berlin catch the RE1 (Regional Express) in the direction of Magdeberg to Werder (Havel). The trip takes about half an hour.

More info: www.werder-havel.de

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'
Photo: DPA

Merkel wishes Tsipras 'strength and success'

Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Tuesday and wished him "much strength and success" after his anti-austerity party's election victory. READ  

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014
Swastika graffiti at a refugee home in Bavaria with text reading "No asylum seekers". Photo: DPA

Refugees suffer over 200 attacks in 2014

Refugee NGOs' first annual report on violence against asylum seekers found that there were over 200 attacks on people and accommodation in 2014. READ  

'No German identity without Auschwitz'
President Gauck addressing the Bundestag on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

'No German identity without Auschwitz'

President Joachim Gauck on Tuesday warned Germans against drawing a line under the Holocaust as the Bundestag (parliament) opened a day of commemorations on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. READ  

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double
Manuel Neuer at the inauguration of his double in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Handball! Neuer blows whistle on wax double

Madame Tussauds' hottest new effigy was unveiled to the public in Berlin on Tuesday, costing a euro for each of the 150,000 hairs on keeper Manuel Neuer's head. Pity about the handball goal frame though… READ  

Railway union threatens strike over €2
EVG members outside a station during a 2013 strike. Photo: DPA

Railway union threatens strike over €2

As railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) continues negotiations with train drivers' union GDL, its other major union EVG has threatened a strike over pay differences between employees. READ  

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000
Photo: DPA

Dresden tolerance concert draws 22,000

As Pegida supporters and opponents clashed in Hanover, musicians threw a free concert in central Dresden on Monday evening to show another side to the city famous for spawning the anti-Islam movement. READ  

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz
"Work will set you free," the gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells inmates. Photo: DPA

Germany remembers horror of Auschwitz

Chancellor Angela Merkel joined survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Berlin on Monday to open a series of events dedicated to the end of the Holocaust camp regime 70 years ago. READ  

JobTalk Germany: Entrepreneur series
'Work I love and a rewarding family life'
Working mum photo: Shutterstock

'Work I love and a rewarding family life'

Melanie Fieseler is a British business/career consultant and coach, and founder of Berlin-based WorkSmart. She is on a mission to help ambitious mums like herself successfully combine motherhood with building a fulfilling and rewarding career or business. READ  

Concentration camp 'can't take more visitors'
Bergen Belsen survivors Maria Gnaiatczyk and Shaul Ladany stand at the memorial to the camp. Photo: DPA

Concentration camp 'can't take more visitors'

After the President of the Jewish Council called for compulsory school trips to concentration camp memorials, the Bergen-Belsen site told The Local that they can't take any more groups. READ  

German kids 'growing up sitting down'
Photo: DPA

German kids 'growing up sitting down'

Too much sitting is bad for you, as we all know. But health experts warned on Monday that half of German children have firmly adopted the sedentary and damaging habits of their parents. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

1,797
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd