I pass on the Oktoberfest. Who wants to sit in some smelly beer tent in Munich with second-rate German celebrities who compete with each other for the pitiful press coverage? To really experience the German beer-fest-thing, it is advisable to start with the less-commercial fests and work your way down to the smaller, more obscure ones.
The Erlanger Bergkirchweih is one of the five largest beer fests in Germany. Starting on the Thursday before Pentacost, the fest spans twelve days and marks the so-called ‘Fifth Season’ in Erlangen. Over a million visitors are expected each year, ten times Erlangen’s population. The Festplatz is on the Burgberg, the hill on the city’s northern side. With seating for 11,000 people, it is considered Europe’s biggest beer garden.
Bergkerwa or Berch, as it is sometimes called, is the result of a resolution set in place by the city magistrate on April 21, 1755 to revive the Pentacostal market. Beginning on the Pentacostal Tuesday, (today a highly-revered holy day in Erlangen because all the shops and firms and workplaces are closed and everyone is at the Bergkirchweih), the market in the Altstadt lasted three days and soon after incorporated the city’s beer cellars in the sand stone Burgberg, where a cool beer could be enjoyed.
The rest is history. And, guess what? You’re in luck! You still have time to get over here for the Bergkirchweih (well, only if you are reading this in May!)
Here’s the official Bergkirchweih Website: https://www.berch.info
Bergkirchweih in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bergkirchweih.erlangen/