Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And then we Deutsches Weinfest

And you thought Germany only had festivals to celebrate beer? Much to my pleasant surprise, Germany doesn't only do beer well, but this country is also capable of producing wonderful wine. The oh-so-popular Riesling is just the tip of the vast variety of wines grown here in Bavaria and throughout Germany. Lucky for this wine-lover, Germans also love to celebrate its wine by having Weinfests. Yes, a festival that is all about wine! Can you just see my smile?!

There is a Weinfest nearly every weekend somewhere in Bavaria from early spring until late autumn. The bigger festivals are held in the warmth of summer, so that tends to be when we remember to start checking the Weinfest calendar for that "festival near you." August seems to be especially festive for our group of friends here, so the past couple of weeks have been full of fun.

So far this month we have been to a Weinfest in both Gaibach and Volkach. Although they were both fun and festive, they could not have been more different.

In Gaibach we went to the Weinfest Gaibacher Schloss, which is a wine festival held within the walls of a palace. Not a bad environment to sip on equisite wine from the region, eh? You'll hear no complaints from this lady, that is for sure. This Wienfest is a tad more intimate than some of the larger festivals mostly because there just isn't as much space inside the palace walls.

With Friends at the Entrance to the Gaibacher Schloss

Small as it may be though, there were at least six different wineries and plenty of booths selling delicious German food. And, of course, a festival would never be complete without a band playing traditional polka music!

The music is always a hit with the little ones. My little man was having so much fun dancing to the music that he decided to take on a partner...

This sweet blonde girl was not quite sure she was ready for little r's suave moves, so she denied him a dance. Little did she know, that meant she was done for the night. She tried to approach him about five minutes later and little r wanted to have nothing to do with her. A peek into his future dating moves, perhaps? Haha, oh, we are going to have fun with this one...

Being rejected didn't bring him down. He decided to go on dancing, and he was elated when the band left the stage and surrounded us. I have to admit, even I thought that was pretty cool.

It was a fun day with friends and a good warm up for the Volkach Weinfest we attended the following weekend. You seriously could not have had a more different experience.

We donned our traditional German attire and headed west to Volkach. I wasn't really sure how I felt about buying and wearing a dirndl to these German festivals. Despite my German friends telling me that the locals wear them to these things, a part of me was a tad bit concerned we might have been crossing some sort of line. I could not have been more happy than arriving at the Weinfest and seeing dirndls and lederhosen everywhere. In fact, we almost would have felt out of place not having worn ours. Nearly everyone in our large group of friends was wearing the traditional German costumes as well, so we fit right in, and it was so much fun!

Just love my boys
We got to the Weinfest early to make sure we got seats
I'm pretty sure little r is thinkg, "My mother is a weirdo!"
Volkach is in the same area as Gaibach, which is just south of Schweinfurt (another town where we have an Army Post). We joined our awesome JAG friends again for a good time. Weinfest Volkach was actually my first adult German festival experience when we went last year when I had just arrived in Germany that very week. With little r being a year older, we were able to actually stick around for awhile and really feel the festival come alive. And holy cow, does this Weinfest get wild!

Me with B and Baby H
My partner in crime!
It didn't take long for the dancing to move onto the tables!
Amidst the friends and good wine there were also carnival rides...

Good eats...

We called this Germany in a bowl - Knupft Nudeln - German noodles, sauerkraut, ham, and onions - delish!
 and LOTS of wine drinking...

I was driving, so I had a few sips of wine to taste and then lived vicariously through Big R as he kept up with this wild wine-drinking crew. Because of the crowds and debauchery, we left our camera at home and used our iPhones for pictures. Although we took MANY pictures of the fun, few of them turned out, so I'll leave the shenanigans to your imagination. Once the sun went down, all of the lighting throughout the festival was illuminated, and it actually looked really pretty.

There was, of course, a band, but this one was anything but traditional. Instead they played covers of current hits and golden oldies. Awesome. Little r thought he was in heaven. Well, I'm sure the bumper cars, sugar covered doughnuts, and chocolate covered bananas had something else to do with it - we can't give the music ALL of the credit.

The night went late, and I was finally able to drag my boys home. It was too much fun. A great night with friends and enjoying a seriously awesome German tradition. I hope we are still in Germany this time next year so that we can go for a third year in a row! Anyone want to go with us?!

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