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Fall festivals abound in Germany

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Cooler temperatures, fewer tourists and great fall festivals are three good reasons to visit Germany this time of year.

Temperatures have cooled since the record-breaking heat that overtook Germany and much of southern Europe at the end of August. Highs are comfortably in the 70s and evenings are cool, hinting of the change of seasons.

Fall festivals are approaching in the Baden-Württemberg area, the first being the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt which takes place over two weekends Sept. 7-11 and 14-17 in the Palatinate wine region town of Bad Dürkheim.

The festival name is misleading as this is not a sausage festival, but a huge wine festival, featuring over 150 different wines at 50 different tents and stands. Local white varietals will be on hand such as Riesling, Dornfelder and Müller-Thurgau to name a few. Don’t miss trying a weissweinschorle, white wine mixed with sparkling water, which makes a very refreshing combination.

Next up is the Heidelberger Herbst, Heidelberg’s autumn festival, which takes place September 29 in the pedestrian zone downtown. This lively (and crowded) fest features food and drink stands, a medieval market and craft market and live entertainment at different locations throughout the old town. There is also a flea market which begins at 7 a.m. for early bargain hunting.

Of course, Munich’s Oktoberfest is the most well-known fall festival in Germany, taking place from September 22-October 7 this year. With 14 large beer tents and over 20 smaller tents, rides and entertainment as well as traditional foods like Würstl, sauerkraut, Schweinebraten (roast pork) and Käsespätzle (cheese noodles), you won’t want for anything. Over six million people visit the fest each year, making it the largest volksfest in the world.

If crowds are not your thing, many local towns host their own Oktoberfest events, but on a much smaller scale. Check with your local tourist office or watch for the posters around town that advertise the events, usually taking place over the same dates.

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