Annafest is held in Forchheim, which sits just slightly south of us. This Franconian folk fest is celebrated every year at the end of July (around St. Anna's day) and usually lasts about a week. What is special about this fest is that it occurs in a place called the Kellerwald ("cellar woods"). In Franconia (and possibly other parts of Germany, as well), they often store their beer in cellars dug into the hills throughout the region. The Kellerwald is literally a forest with a trail that leads to many different kellers where beer is stored underground to keep it cool. They nearly always put a "beer garden" on top of the Keller, so that everyone can enjoy the beer straight from the source. In fact, if you ever visit this part of Bavaria, you will rarely ever here the locals refer to a "bier garten" but instead will hear and see Keller everywhere.
The Annafest has its roots starting back to the early 1500's when folks would make a pilgrimage to the Church of St. Anna in Forchheim. During these pilgrimages, they would use the Kellerwald to take a much needed break. The tradition grew into a festival a few hundred years later. Now it attracts about half a million people every year. After experiencing this unique folk fest, I can completely understand why so many people flock to Forchheim at the end of July.
Big R decided we needed to hit this festival in true Bavarian style. Much to my surprise, we were both able to find traditional costumes that we liked at the first store we tried, and for a pretty decent deal (traditional dress can get very expensive, so we were happy we found what we wanted and could purchase them without breaking the bank). We had found lederhosen for little r while we were in Austria, so he was set.
Aside from the liter-only beers (no joke, you could not purchase much of ANYTHING, especially beer, in a smaller size) and traditional Bavarian food...
|Yes, little r went on his first roller coaster AND did it with his hands up in the air!|
|Big R and little r climbing steps to another level of the fest|
|Isn't this neat?|
The nightlife at Annfest took things up several notches, and fun was had by all...
|The ferris wheel all lit up|
|The rides and most of the vendors were at the base of the hill - clearly|
|Music was playing at every Keller even during the day|
|Gotta love those 1-liter beers!|
|So beautiful at night with all the lights|
The Annafest will definitely be on our list of festivals to see if we are still here in July next year. What an amazing time!