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Bergkirchweih - The Other Oktoberfest

The "Bergkirchweihe" in Erlangen, "the other" Oktoberfest - Picture : erlangen.de

Around Pentecost - precisely: from the last weekend of May to the first weekend of June -, there is but one destination in Erlangen: the "Berch" (“Berg” (mountain) pronounced in the local dialect), for Bergkirchweih, the fair of the year in Central Franconia. The “Berch-Kerwa” has been held since 1755, when the alderman decided to move all the country fairs and religious parades from the old town to the mountain. This was quite a match, since the local breweries stored their beer there, in the cool cellars dug in the mountain’s sides: the perfect location to avoid dry throats.

Today along the Burgberg (the mountain's name), not only beer cellars, but also 90 funfair stands and numerous takeaway counters follow one another. A beer pint is much less expensive -- and the open-air beer gardens in the shades of the chestnut trees make for a cosier atmosphere than the gigantic, overheated and steamy tents at the Wies’n. Erlangen's annual Bergkirchweih awaits no tourists from Australia or China. Instead a lot of Franconians from the surrounds, the city's 30,000 students as well as “veterans” wend their way to the holy mountain everyday. In total, around one million visitors are expected – they are six million at the Oktoberfest

From short, tradition-clashing pink Dirndls over the local beer to the Biergarten atmosphere – many Franconians, but also a lot of other visitors, think that the Bergkirchweih in Erlangen is a lot better than the real Oktoberfest.

Source & pictures:  Sueddeutsche.de
More: www.der-berg-ruft.de