On Thursday, the day had finally come: The beginning of this year’s Bergkirchweih! That’s quite a big beer festival in my hometown. Every year, thousands of people come to Erlangen just for this occasion. Needless to say that locals are just as crazy about it as tourists.
Traditionally, on the starting day, the Anstich, people meet early, at around noon or early afternoon, at a location a few kilometres away from the actual festival area in order to walk there together and, naturally, drink as much beer as possible while doing so.
Hence, I got myself ready- wearing a (not so) traditional Dirndl– the famous Bavarian dress that originally served as work outfit for female farm workers. Nowadays, it is more used as a way of dressing up, and pretty much everybody owns one. Fun Fact- if you tie the apron on the right hand side, this means that you are in a relationship, left hand side means that you’re single. The walk to the festival area is called Kastenlauf for obvious reasons: People usually carry entire crates (Kasten, in German) with them to ensure that they never get thirsty. Funny creations are to be admired everywhere, because people are too lazy to actually carry them with muscle strength only 😀 Aaaand, this is what the festival area looks like: It is a rather beautiful place on a hill (hence Bergkirchweih- Berg means Mountain in German) hidden underneath many old trees. Note that during night time, the streets are A LOT more crowded- I just didn’t want to take my DSLR camera there at night, when everybody’s drunk and doesn’t pay attention where they’re walking. There are many traditional beer gardens along the way. What is mainly used for eating and drinking during the day is transformed into a sort of partying place with live music, where people are dancing on the tables. Naturally, there are countless stalls selling all sorts of savoury foods:Of course, sweet treats are omnipresent, too!The stalls are carefully designed. Sometimes, the style is… interesting…… and sometimes, it is really cute with a great eye for the small details!Fun games can be played everywhere. … but sometimes, they just look terrible (to say the least). AAAAAnd, of course, the famous gingerbread hearts are sold everywhere! But most importantly: There’s beer! There are many different breweries, selling their creations for around 9€ per litre in the traditional caves, where the beer used to be stored in the past. Here some more impressions from the beer gardens. As you can see, “traditional” outfits are quite popular. Some are less traditional though, like the waitress below. Others are pretty much accurate. However, the guys below represent the average style:Throughout the entire city, one encounters dressed-up people walking towards the festival area during those 2 weeks. Basically, the whole town goes crazy, and the festival is called the fifth season 😀It’s even beneficial for the poor among us (well, at least a little bit): they collect all the empty bottles and receive the refund for it.
Nonetheless, there are quite a lot of accidents and emergencies happening during this time of the year, mainly because it’s too crowded and people cannot handle their drinking. However, I really enjoy it (can I say anything different as a proper local?) and I hope you got a good impression from these pictures!