Last Tuesday I flew to Stuttgart, Germany to visit one of my best friends who happens to live here. As soon as I got here, despite the jetlag, we went to a famous German fair. This fair comes twice a year to Stuttgart, once in May and once in October for Oktoberfest.
As soon as we arrived, I saw girls dressed in Dirndl dresses, traditional German dresses, and men dressed in Lederhosen, which is the traditional German menswear consisting of shorts that have straps resembling suspenders that go up over their shoulders. So, after mere minutes of being at this fair, I could tell how much it was influenced by their culture. Walking around the fair, it definitely had many similarities to an American fair, until I heard the people around me start speaking in German which instantly reminded me that I am an outsider.
After partaking in some rides and walking around for a while, we went into a giant tent filled with hundreds of people all dressed up in their Dirndls and Lederhosen drinking liters of beer. In the front of this massive tent was a band singing fun, upbeat German songs which the entire crowd joyously sang and danced along to. We took our seat at a table in the back and I observed the festivities while eating the famous chicken that the fair sells. It was basically a rotisserie chicken with a spicy skin served with a roll. While enjoying my meal, I witnessed the interludes of chants that ended in everyone in the crowd raising their beer into the air. It was definitely a time to be care-free and let loose.
We then ventured around the fair some more and got some candied almonds, similar to those you can find in the states, and rode some more rides. We did not stay very late, leaving around seven that evening, but apparently, around 8 p.m. the fair becomes packed with people all dressed up and drinking, and that is when the party really starts. The fair stays open until midnight and just gets crazier as the night goes on. In my opinion, it reminded me of an American bar, except the men and women were all dressed in traditional German outfits.
According to my friend, the May fair is nothing compared to the one in October. So, if you find yourself in Germany for Oktoberfest, make sure to check out the fair in Stuttgart, but be prepared for expensive rides and huge crowds. Further, if you want to fully embrace the culture and get the full, German experience (or just want to fit in,) purchase a Dirndl or Lederhosen and go prepared to drink several liters of beer.