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Seven events you can’t miss in October 2019 in Germany

Whether harvest festivals, historical exhibits, or book (and beer) bonanzas, there is something for everyone this month.

Seven events you can't miss in October 2019 in Germany
The opening day of Weimar's Onion Festival in 2018. Photo: DPA

German Grape Harvest Festival, Neustadt, October 2nd-14th

The Neustadt parade is the largest wine parade in the world. Photo: DPA

This festival takes place at the heart of the German wine route on the first and second weekend of October every year. It is the second largest wine festival in the world.

The main attraction of the festival is the winemakers parade which first wound its way around the streets of Neustadt in 1909. Now, 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the parade which will also see the celebration of the crowning of a new Palatinate wine queen and a new German wine queen.

Through its vast size and extended programme, the Neustadt wine festival shows that Germany takes wine, not just beer, seriously.

Exhibit: Prenzlauer Berg before, during and after the Mauerfall, Berlin, starting October 4th

The Ernst Thälmann memorial, one of the sites featured in the exhibit. Photo: DPA

It’s hard to tell that the increasingly posh Berlin neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg once belonged to former East Germany. Yet, as Germany celebrates 30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall this November 9th, a new exhibit has opened to show how the central Kiez was a catalyst for change, starting from the 1970s on.

Museum Pankow’s permanent exhibition, which opened on Friday, shows where and how counter movements to communism started, leading visitors outside to many buildings, parks and open spaces where ordinary people peacefully pushed for the landmark events of 1989. 

Ludwigsburg Pumpkin Festival, Now-November 3rd

Every year “Germany's largest pumkin” is honoured at the festival. Photo: DPA

Set in the beautiful grounds of Ludwigsburg Palace, this is the largest Pumpkin Festival in the world. It is not only a festival for children, but for adults too, with gourmet food and drinks (all with the seasonal squash as an ingredient, of course) alongside children's entertainment and activities such as storytelling and a Halloween carving tent.

There are more than 450,000 pumpkins on display at the festival alongside an extended programme of events. Sadly the pumpkin canoe regatta has already taken place, but there is still much more to come throughout October including the all important pumpkin weigh offs and and giant pumpkin carving competitions.

Weimar Onion Festival, October 11th-13th

A video by the city of Weimar for the famous 'Zwiebelmarkt'.

This year marks the  the 366th edition of the Weimar Zwiebelmarkt, the oldest folk festival in Thürigen. There are about 600 stalls selling various onion related wares, alongside a whole programme of music and events.

Highlights of the festival include trying the special onion cake, the crowning of the Zwiebelmarkt Queen, and the display and sale of Zwiebelzöpfe, braids made of onions and decorated with flowers. On the Saturday of the festival there is even a city run including a children's race, a 10km race and a half marathon. The route runs right through – not surprisingly – the middle of the Zwiebelmarkt.

Cannstatter Volksfest, Stuttgart, Now-October 13th

A tent inside the Cannstatter Volksfest. Photo: DPA

Munich’s Oktoberfest is no doubt the most well-known beer extravaganza. But if you miss it before its final weekend this Sunday, October 6th, why not check out a (slightly) more laid-back festival in southern Germany: Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest. 

READ ALSO: Forget Oktoberfest. Here's why you should visit Cannstatter Volksfest instead

Running through mid-October, it offers a variety of amusement park rides for kids and adults alike. Keeping the southern German spirit alive, there are also a variety of themed tents with long tables, serving a variety of brews in impressively large mugs. Check out the Schwabenwelt for a taste of Baden-Württemberg’s famously rich cuisine or the Almhürttendorf tent for a bit of Alpine ambiance. 

Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt am Main, October 16th-19th

A visitor to the Frankfurt book fair in 2017. Photo: DPA

The perfect match for Germany's book lovers, the Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest book trade fair. The first three days of the festival are only open to those in the business, but the weekend at the end of the festival is open to the public and is well worth a visit.

The first book fair in Frankfurt was held in 1454, and it remains to this day one of the most significant book fairs in the world. Along with the fair, there will be a book festival throughout the city, including readings and poetry slams at venues such as the English Theatre.

Burg Frankenstein Haunted Castle, Darmstadt, October 25th-November 10th

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

A post shared by Halloween Burg Frankenstein (@halloween.burgfrankenstein) on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:30am PDT

By now, most of us know have the date of October 31st in mind for the UK’s planned departure from the EU. But there’s another event – that many people would argue is even scarier – taking place on this day: Halloween.

At ‘Burg Frankenstein’, you can feel creeped out in a 1000 year old castle ruin, complete with 12 “scare zones” and 100 costomed creatures. While Halloween has only been picking up in popularity over the past few years in Germany, this scary spectacle has spooked out guests since 1977. The well-known castle stands on a 370 metre high foothill of Langenberg near Darmstadt.

READ ALSO: Following Frankenstein's footsteps in Ingolstadt

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MUNICH

Is Germany’s Oktoberfest heading to Dubai this year?

Last year Germany's famous Oktoberfest was cancelled. And this year? We're still not sure if it will happen yet in Munich due to Covid - but it looks like it could be heading to the desert...

Is Germany's Oktoberfest heading to Dubai this year?
Guests enjoying a scaled-back Oktoberfest celebration in 2020 in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Hörhager

Oktoberfest is to take place in Dubai, the largest city in the UAE, according to German media reports on Thursday.

The plan is to move the world’s largest folk festival to an area of ​​around 420,000 square meters near the Dubai Marina, Berlin Christmas market boss Charles Blume, who is one of the organisers, told Spiegel.

Blume said Dubai officials had given the festival the green light.

German daily Bild reported that Dubai’s Oktoberfest would start on October 7th at 12noon in 32 tents – and then last for six months until March 31st 2022 – that’s far longer than the original Munich event which lasts around 16 days. 

READ ALSO: Oktoberfest ‘very unlikely’ to take place in Munich in 2021

Celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Pamela Anderson and Lothar Matthäus are to be flown in as guests, Bild said, although this hasn’t been confirmed.

The estimated cost for the event is reportedly around €50 million. As well as Blume, the Munich ex-restaurateur Dirk Ippen and host Sepp Krätz played a key role in developing the plan, said Bild.

Even if the location is unusual compared to Munich’s Wiesn, the event would be strongly based on the original.

Beer tents, restaurants, as well as carousels and sales stands that resemble the traditional festival are all planned. Brewers and innkeepers would also be flown in from Bavaria.

The organiser, however, emphasises that the event in Dubai wouldn’t be “just another Oktoberfest double”, but bigger and more international than Munich’s.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Oktoberfest 2020 cancelled over coronavirus pandemic

The aim is to achieve this with numerous types of beer, the longest beer bar as well as 620 entertainers and businesses.

The alcohol ban in the UAE would not apply to the Oktoberfest or the event area. Spiegel reported that people who’ve been drinking would be transported to their hotels in shuttle buses to respect the culture and rules.

Organisers are reportedly putting together a detailed hygiene and safety plan to ensure the safety of guests and workers in the pandemic.

Will Oktoberfest be cancelled in Munich in 2021?

As The Local reported, it is still unclear if Oktoberfest will go ahead in Munich this year due to the pandemic. Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter said the cancellation is looking increasingly likely due to the current infection situation and restrictions.

However, if it does happen it is planned that it will kick off on September 18th and will last until October 3rd.

In 2020 a scaled back celebration took place in some bars and restaurants in Munich to mark Oktoberfest but it was nowhere near as huge as the original which is world-renowned and rakes in billions of euros.

READ ALSO: Oktoberfest in numbers: A look inside Germany’s multi-billion business

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