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9 unmissable events in Germany this October

Sarah Magill
Sarah Magill - [email protected]
9 unmissable events in Germany this October
Visitors enjoy the 176th Cannstatter Volksfest at the Cannstatter Wasen in the sunshine. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Whether you're a book lover, a film enthusiast, or an avid onion eater, there's an event for everyone in Germany this October.

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Throughout the month: Oktoberfests in North Rhine-Westphalia

Though the most famous Oktoberfest takes place in Munich, (this year ending on October 3rd), Germany's most populous state - North Rhine-Westphalia - has plenty of rival beer-drinking events happening throughout the month too. Highlights include:

RÜ Oktoberfest in Essen/Mühlheim: This month-long extravaganza at Essen/Mülheim Airfield boasts stylishly illuminated tents, accommodating up to 3,500 guests until October 14th. DJs and live bands provide entertainment, and König Ludwig Hell beer is served in litre-sized mugs.

Münster's Oktoberfest: Starting September 22nd at Albersloher Weg, this fest features traditional games, an umbrella bar, and can host about 4,500 daily visitors until October 14th. It's known as "one of the largest Oktoberfests north of the Weißwurst equator," offering vegan options and live music by the Partyvögel band.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Germany's Oktoberfest

Xanten's Oktoberfest: Running from September 29th to October 15th, the Xanten Oktoberfest offers unique themes each Sunday, such as "Carnival meets Oktoberfest" (October 1st), "Shooting Club Oktoberfest" (October 8th), and "Emergency Services Oktoberfest" (October 15th). 

September 22nd – October 8th: Cannstatter Volksfest, Stuttgart

The Cannstatter Volksfest, often referred to simply as the "Wasen," is one of Germany's largest and most popular folk festivals.

The festivities take place in Stuttgart's Bad Cannstatt district, covering approximately 25 hectares and hosting 320 amusement rides and stalls.

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During the Volksfest parade on the first Sunday of the festival, beautifully decorated brewery wagons, colourful traditional groups, and music bands from all over the region march through the historic streets of Bad Cannstatt to the Wasen.

September 28th – October 7th: FILMFEST HAMBURG

This annual event in Hamburg is one of the country's leading film festivals, showcasing diverse and high-quality national and international feature and documentary films.

Albert Wiederspiel, director of Filmfest Hamburg, after a press conference on this year's film festival's program. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christian Charisius

The lineup ranges from sophisticated art house films to innovative mainstream cinema and presents the debut films of young German and international filmmakers alongside films by famous directors of international cinema.

Every night from 9 pm during the festival, festivalgoers can head to the FILMFEST BAR/Kasematte20 to have a drink and exchange views on the films they have seen.

October 2nd to 3rd: German Unity Day Celebrations, Hamburg

Every year, a different city hosts the official celebrations for the Day of German Unity.

This year's host is the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Under the motto "Opening Horizons," the festival will focus on Germany's diversity, modernity, and openness to the world.

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The celebrations will run from 10 am to 11 pm on October 2nd and from 10 am to 9 pm on October 3rd. It features presentations by Germany's federal states and constitutional bodies, live music, and various artistic performances on multiple stages.

There'll be a dedicated children's area with games, informational and entertainment stalls, and a diverse range of culinary offerings.

The festival spans multiple locations in Hamburg's city centre, including the Binnenalster, City Hall, and Mönckebergstraße, with a Welcome Centre at the main station for event information.

October 6th to 15th: Festival of Lights Berlin

Once a year, Berlin's landmarks and monuments transform into a backdrop for spectacular light and video displays as part of the Festival of Lights.

The Brandenburg Gate is lit up in rainbow colours in the Festival of Lights 2022.

The Brandenburg Gate is lit up in rainbow colours in the Festival of Lights 2022. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Fabian Sommer

Particular highlights are the displays at Bebelplatz and Potsdamer Platz, where visitors can immerse themselves in vibrant and precisely tailored light art projections, accompanied by music.

October 13th to 15th: Zwiebelmarkt, Weimar

Once a year, the humble onion becomes the star of a lively festival in Weimar which dates all the way back to 1653. 

The festival features hundreds of stalls in the main square, showcasing various onions and agricultural products, often creatively crafted into braids, dolls, and cakes. Craft stalls offer pottery and woodcraft from the region, and visitors can sample different beers and local food.

READ ALSO: Pickles to chocolate balls: 16 regional foods to try in each German state

The festival also boasts music, street artists, and a vibrant atmosphere reminiscent of a music festival.

Weimar Zwiebelmarkt

Onions hang on a market stall at the historic Zwiebelmarkt in Weimar. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Martin Schutt

As with any good German regional speciality festival, the celebrations also include the selection of the coveted Queen of the Onion Market.

October 13th-15th: Podcast Festival Berlin

This three-day long event at Berlin's sprawling RAW-Gelände will play host not only to a multilingual line-up of podcasts based out of the capital, but also host a variety of workshops for anyone interested in launching - or improving - their own podcasts.

Only two years old, the Podfest represents over 70 podcasts focused on a wide range of topics from giving birth to German politics.

October 13th to 29th: Bremen Freimarkt

Founded in 1035, the Bremen Freimarkt is one of Germany's oldest folk festivals.

Its name derives from the fact that, unlike typical weekly markets, it allowed both local and out-of-town merchants to freely sell their goods. Otherwise, this privilege was reserved for members of other Bremen guilds and trade associations. At the beginning of the 19th century, the market transformed into an amusement fair with roller coasters, Ferris wheels, haunted houses, and nearly 50 other rides on the Bürgerweide near the main train station.

Visitors can also enjoy traditional treats like lard pastries and roasted almonds. 

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October 18th to 22nd: Frankfurt Book Fair

The Frankfurt Book Fair is the world's largest trade fair for books, serving as a meeting point for authors, publishers, literary agents, and book enthusiasts. It features book exhibitions, author appearances, conferences, literary awards and international networking opportunities.

This year's fair is the 75th Frankfurter Buchmesse and celebrates Slovenia as the Guest of Honour, showcasing its literary heritage and more.

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