Bad Durkheim Wurstmarkt

Bad Durkheim Wurstmarkt (Sausage Fair)

Although called Bad Durkheim Wurstmarkt, or Sausage Fair, this is actually Germany's biggest wine festival. The name is said to have originated about 150 years ago because of the immense amounts of sausage consumed. Today there are dozens of wheelbarrow stands selling sausage and also chicken and shish-kebab. The religious origins of the feast are traced to 1417, when the villagers sold sausages, wine, and bread from wheelbarrows to pilgrims going to Michelsberg (St. Michael's hill) on Michaelmas ( St. Michael's Day).
The opening day of the festival features a concert and a procession of bands, vineyard proprietors, and tapsters of the tavern stalls with decorated wine floats. The official opening is conducted by the mayor of Bad Durkheim and the German Wine Queen, and is followed by the tapping of the first cask. The following days are a medley of fireworks, band playing, dancing, and singing through the night. At the three dozen or so tavern stalls, wine is served in glasses called Schoppen that hold about a pint. Before the festival is over, some half a million people will have drunk more than 400,000 Schoppen.
From July through late October, there are numerous other wine festivals, mainly in the villages of the Rhine and Moselle valleys. Among them are Bockenheim, Deidesheim, and Schweigen-Rechterbach.
German National Tourist Office
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Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.