In Germany, every village has a local Kärwa, short for Kirchweih or the celebration of the sanctification of the church. The dates vary depending on when the local church was sanctified so to say, and I suspect when the neighboring village has their festival (you wouldn’t want both on the same weekend). But nevertheless the whole Dorf (village/neighborhood) turns out en masse, in trachten to boot.
Most Kärwas boast a few food stands, and some kids attractions, but the main activity of these festivals seems to be the beer tent. Each day the fest opens about 10 am and goes straight through the day until 6 am the following morning (at least ours does).
Other versions of the local beer fest are the huge festivals hosted by entire cities. Two such options local to us are the Bergkirchweih in Erlangen, and Annafest in Forchheim.
The Berg (meaning hill) is the third largest fair in Bavaria (after (of course) Oktoberfest in Munich and Gäubodencolksfest in Straubing) held in one of the largest open air beer gardens in Europe. About one million people visit the festival annually (nearly ten times the population of Erlangen). The Berg lasts 12 days and the fair grounds are nearly a kilometer long.
Annafest is a Franconian festival in the Kellerwald (cellar woods) of nearby Forchheim. Annafest was started in 1840 and now features over 20 beer cellars. Though not as big as neighboring Erlangen, Annafest still draws nearly half a million visitors each year.
It seems like every weekend has a new festival all summer long, especially compared to the largely ignored remaining 9 months of the year. Next on our list this year is Oktoberfest!
What is your favorite summer festival?