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Experience German culture at Frankenmuth, Michigan's Bavarian Festival

Sights at the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival
Sights at the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival
courtesy Bavarian Festival

Located about 90 miles north of Detroit, Frankenmuth, Michigan is known as "Little Bavaria" because it resembles a small Bavarian village. As Cleveland Christmas lovers know, Frankenmuth is home to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, the largest Christmas store in the world (the size of 5.5 football fields).

Bavarian Festival Parade
courtesy Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival

On Thursday, June 12, Friday, June 13, Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15, Frankenmuth will play host to more than 100,000 visitors who come to attend Frankenmuth's 56th annual Bavarian Festival. It is approximately a 4 hour drive from Cleveland.

Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival Named one of the Top 5 Festivals in the state of Michigan, the Bavarian Festival has a multitude of activities, live music, a big parade complete with decorated floats and plenty of German food for all to enjoy. The Festival will take place at Harvey Kern Pavilion at Frankenmuth's Heritage Park.

Among some of the activities and entertainment will be Bavarian music played by authentically dressed German bands, amusement rides and games, a polka band jam and various performances by the Maibaum (Maypole) dancers.

Be sure you see the raising of the Maibaum on Friday at 6 p.m. A maibaum is a tall, wooden decorated pole. In Bavaria it is usually painted in the traditional Bavarian colors of blue and white. While the true meaning has never been established, today the maibaum is looked upon as a symbol of celebration. The raising of Frankenmuth's maibaum will be followed by a dance performance.

Food items available for purchase include bratwurst, barbecued chicken, homemade pretzels, barbecued pork sandwiches, German potato salad, hot dogs, sauerkraut, traditional chicken dinners, Jagerschnitzel and various German desserts. There will also be plenty of domestic and imported German beer.

This year, Frankenmuth will hold a Kinder Parade for the children on Saturday at 10 a.m. where they will be able to celebrate German heritage.

The big parade will be held on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Main Street. It will feature over 100 entries such as decorated floats (including one from Bronner's), marching bands, dance clubs, entertainers, visiting dignitaries and the newly crowned Bavarian Princess and her court. The theme of this year's parade is "Festival Traditions".

New this year, the Bavarian Festival will also include a corn hole tournament, an Euchre tournament and a "Fun Run".

Admission to the Bavarian Festival is free. Hours for the Bavarian Festival are 5 p.m. - midnight on Thursday, 4 p.m. - midnight on Friday, 11 a.m. - midnight on Saturday and 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information about the Bavarian Festival call 877-879-8919 or get online at

For those visitors wishing to stay overnight in Frankenmuth, check out the Drury Inn & Suites located at 260 S. Main St. (989-652-2800) or the Bavarian Inn located at 1 Covered Bridge Lane (989-652-7200). Call for availability and pricing.

It is approximately a 4 hour drive from Cleveland to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Take the Ohio Turnpike (I-80 West) to I-75 North (Exit 136).

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