Saturday, October 24, 2015

"King among Farmers." October 10th, 2015. Stuttgart, Germany

In the midst of confusion, stress, and frustration with work permits, I was put on temporary unpaid leave in order to sort of the mess. Thus, I decided to make my way south to visit a wonderful friend of mine who (ironically) was one of my mother’s best friends freshman year of college in Kansas (Rock Chalk Jayhawk). Facebook and fate brought the three of us together and a lifelong friendship and mentorship was born. While my reason for the original visit was actually so that we could go to Oktoberfest together, my work permit process allowed us an entire week.

Sarah Cooks provides a great Schupfnudeln
recipe translated into English on her website:
In Stuttgart, we celebrated the final weekend of Oktoberfest; in this particular city, this three week-long event is called the Canstatter Volksfest (peoples’ festival) and lovingly referred to as the “Wasen.” There were massive beer tents, glittering carnival games, and colorful dirndls galore! We made it a point to wander between all of the food tents, sampling beer and dishes representing the best of German party food. We were warmly greeted by piles of sautéed mushrooms with a garlic sauce, bratwursts, roasted potatoes, and a mound of sauerkraut that revealed Schupfnudeln beneath (known in Austria and Germany, this is a thick-dough noodle similar to gnocchi in Italy).

Learn more about the festival!
The festival is also, of course filled with music everywhere you go. Sometimes these are the typical dance songs that migrate across borders in a chart-topping delay after they’ve launched in the US, sometimes these are German festival songs created just for that purpose and are therefore both obnoxious and beloved. In the massive beer tents, hundreds of people sit along hard, wooden benches and tables to enjoy too many liters of beer and heavy, delicious food. Often, people will pop onto the table to dance to a particularly endearing song or to partake in a drinking dare where they have to chug an entire liter in one go. There is even a mascot running around -the bunny so lovingly referred to as the Wasenhasi- between tents from the different breweries to spark love and laughter between party goers at night, and giggles between kids during the daytime family events that take place.

The festival emblem:
This festival has been around for as long as we can all remember, especially since it started way back in 1817 as an agriculturally-focused event with horse races and livestock, similar to a 4H event or stock show. Even more interesting was that the festival was thrown a day after King Wilhelm I’s birthday and he really wanted to be there in person. King Wilhelm was known for being the “king amongst the farmer and the farmer amongst kings” and this whole festival incorporated that idea. Covered with fruit, cereal and other agrarian items, you’ll find a fruit column “Fruchtsäule” towering above the mayhem and fun. They even still do parades and exhibitions to showcase new agricultural technology and developments as they have all these years.

Naturally, I will recommend that everyone experience a massive German festival sometime in their lives. Until that time, I’ll keep sampling them and reporting back.
I sampled a dark chocolate-dipped
apple then rolled in coconut flakes. Yum!


  1. I loved having you here, Bethany! Let's make this an annual event. Either the Wies'n (Oktoberfest) or the Wasen (Cannstatter Volksfest). Are you in? Thanks for the backstory - I didn't know. Shame on me for just being an ignorant patron. Good thing I went with you or I'd still be ignorant!