Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim: A Wine Lover’s Delight
A number of wine tents, several food stalls, and countless fairground rides make a visit to Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim unforgettable. Let’s find out why!
The Wurstmarkt is held every year at the center of the spa town of Bad Dürkheim at the edge of the Palatinate Forest in Rhineland-Palatinate, western Germany, its coordinates being 49°27’57.79”N and 8°10’15.33”E. Wurstmarkt is held along the Isenach River on the western part of the Brühlwiesen water meadows.
During September, Bad Dürkheim experiences an average high temperature of 21 degrees Celsius and an average low of 12 degrees Celsius. Precipitation remains well below the mark of 25 millimeters, thus rendering the weather pleasurable and sunny.
Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim had its roots in 1155 when the Palatinate’s oldest vineyard named the “Monte Sancti Michaeli” was mentioned for the first time in a document. At that time, pilgrims used to come on 29th September every year to the chapel on Michaelsberg hill to purchase a letter of indulgence that was supposed to rid them of their sins. Seizing this opportunity, local winegrowers and farmers began to sell sausages, bread, and wine after carrying these by wheelbarrows. This Sankt-Michaelis Markt, regarded as the forerunner of today’s Wurstmarkt, attracted musicians and merchants in 1417, and in 1577, it was moved to the Brühlwiesen meadows. The fair started being held for three days from the second half of the 18th century.
Because of the large consumption of sausages at the fair in 1832, the “Wurstmarkt” name began to be used. The State Government of Bavaria gave its final approval to celebrate the Wurstmarkt on the first and second September weekends in 1913. The fair was canceled after World War II, and in 1948, it became a fish fair with only one bottle of wine on sale for each visitor. Wurstmarkt has been celebrated for nine days since 1985.
Ironically, the Sausage market is more about wine and less about sausages. The wine festival, Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt, is held on the German Wine Route on the second and third weekend of September every year outside the Giant Barrel, the world’s largest barrel of wine. Initially, the winemakers used to push their wheelbarrows filled with wine toward the festival grounds. Nowadays, however, local wines or “Sekt” are served in half-liter glasses or poured in classic stemmed glasses at each of the 36 wine tents or Schubkarchständen – comfortable tents of high quality, such as the Hamel tent, decorated beautifully with weather-proof curtains and narrow wooden benches. The three large marquees on the Wurstmarkt – the Hamel Tent, Marquee Spreuer, and the wine and beer hall gentleman, organize a colorful program of live music of all genres to entertain visitors. Apart from wine tasting, visitors can enjoy concerts, carnival rides, local specialties of the Palatine region, as well as a fireworks display.
In 2016, the 600th Wurstmarkt is set to celebrate local wines from 9th to 13th September and then between September 16 and 19. The festival is to start with the anniversary parade at 4:00 pm on the 9th of September, followed by the official opening of the Wurstmarkt with a keg tapping at the foot of the Michaelskapelle at 6:00 pm. After this, the Groove Monkeys are scheduled to entertain visitors from 6:00 pm till 2:00 am at the Hamel tent. The Sausage market will open at 10:00 am on Sundays and will begin from 11:00 am on the remaining days. On September the 19th, Pfalzer poems, and poetry-songs are going to please tourists, and the festival is to end at 11:00 pm with colorful fireworks accompanied by music from 9:00 pm.
How to Get There:
You can take an InterCity Express to Mannheim, from where you need to catch a regional train to reach the city of Bad Dürkheim through Neustadt. Line 4 of the Rhein-Haardtbahn connects Bad Dürkheim to Mannheim and Ludwigshafen. The Bundesstraβen 271, running from Neustadt to Monsheim, and 37, linking Kaiserslautern with Mosbach, connect Bad Dürkheim to the network of long-distance roads, so it is possible to arrive at the town by car. You can park your car at 2,200 car parks and 1,500 other unstaffed ones, including Parkhaus Casino, the Parking Town Square, and the Park and Ride (P&R) station. For those who are more at ease traveling by plane, the Flugplatz Bad Dürkheim airport is located to the east of Bad Dürkheim.
It is true that the Munich Oktoberfest is the world’s biggest beer festival, but a visit to the Wurstmarkt in Bad Dürkheim gives you a chance to boast of having visited the largest wine festival in the whole world! 300 award-winning sparkling wines wait to be served to you by famous wineries of the Bad Dürkheim region, including Fitz-Ritter, Friedhelm New, Karst, Heissler, Pflüger, Grauer, Volker Schrah, and much more! Furthermore, you get to visit the city of Bad Dürkheim, which is the third largest center for winegrowing in the Palatinate and the fourth one in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Apart from the refreshing ice wines, classic white wines, red wines and the fine Rieslings, this festival also gives you an opportunity to taste beers. As you sit on the narrow, closely packed benches inside the wine tents, you can chat amiably with new people, and who knows, you might even be so lucky as to meet an old friend! With spectacular rides like the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster, Happy Sailor, and Artistico, the Wurstmarkt succeeds in imparting a cheerful feel among the young and the old gathered together for nine days and nights of revelry. No wonder this festival has over 600,000 visitors from different parts of the world making merry every year!
Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim has the following attractions in store for you in 2016:-
- The Anniversary Procession (Jubiläumfestzug) – This historical parade, featuring around 100 train numbers that show significant stations on the way to the Dürkheimer Wurstmarkt, starts at 4:00 pm with VIPs from around the world to mark the 600th anniversary of this wine festival.
- The Giant Barrel or Giant Cask (Riesenfass or the Därgemer Fass) – On the bottom of this cask of wine is inscribed in the old German script “Dürkheimer Riesenfass”. A 1,700-cubic-meter volume and a diameter of 13.5 meters make it the largest wine barrel in the world. Today, it houses a wine bar that can have not more than 430 guests at a time.
- The wines (Weine)- In order to ensure the high quality of the wines served at the Wurstmarkt, each of the 300 wines is, annually, either awarded by the German Agricultural Society in association with the Agricultural Chamber of Rhineland-Palatinate (Landswirtschaftskammer Rheinland-Pfalz) or received a certificate of the German Wine Seal. Also, the city of Bad Dürkheim must be the origin of the wineries producing wine for Wurstmarkt, as well as the location for brewing the Wurstmarkt wines. Through these random checks and quality requirements of the wines, a significant contribution to the assurance and improvement of wine quality and consumer protection is made by the German Wine Seal, the Provincial Agricultural Chamber of Rhineland-Palatinate, and Bad Dürkheim.
- The wine village (Das Weindorf) – Enjoy the fine wines and the beautiful food in style in the 12 wine tents at the wine village, which has been the hangout for wine fans since 1992. Visitors are going to love Dixieland music and a performance by Rentnerband on 11th September, while the Weindorf on 18th September (Nachmarktsonntag) is to listen to musicians from the Crack Hoffman jazz quartett. At 6:00 pm on September the 14th (Vormarktmontag), the Dürkheimer wine princess is enthroned and introduced into her office in the wine village.
- The Hamel Tent – Treating each customer as a king, the Hamel tent, yielding a traditional marquee atmosphere, is to be the meeting place of 2,000 people who want to amuse themselves every day with rock, pop, and party music and thus enjoy a lively party while filling their mouths with tasty snacks, treats and other specialties. The Classic Brothers featuring Charles Shaw are scheduled to perform at the Hamel tent on 11th September between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm. The Hamel Tent will also have shows by the Talisman Band on 17th September from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am, and by the Filsbacher between 4:00 pm and 11:00 pm on the 18th, and on September the 19th, the Hamel Tent program comes to an end with the Grand Malör from 6:00 pm till 11:00 pm.
- Literary brunch (Literarischer Frühschoppen) – Thousands of fans of the local Palatine dialect gather for the literary brunch on the first Wurstmarkt Monday, 12th September 2016, from 10:00 till around 1:00 pm. Even if you’re in any of the wine tents, you can hear it through loudspeakers.
- Senior Afternoon (Seniorennachmittag) – The older generation looks forward to a pleasant time accompanied by folk music in the Senior Afternoons inside the Hamel tent. The Senior Afternoons have seen performances by the Shepherd, the Wildhearts, and pop singer Tony Marshall or Michael Holm and other famous television and radio celebrities till date. At the Hamel tent this year, famous German folk music (Volksmusik) singer Patrick Lindner is going to entertain you on the Seniorennachmittag from 3:00 pm till 6:00 pm on 16th
- City Skyliner– The air-conditioned cab of the world’s tallest mobile observation tower offers a magnificent panoramic vision of the city of Bad Dürkheim at an elevation of 72 meters.
- Haunted Mansion– Johan Hinzen’s Haunted Mansion promises you some scary fun with animated characters and startling effects that make you jump out of your skin! Boo!
- Jupiter– Barth & Kipp arranges for open and rotating decorated gondolas at an altitude of 50 meters on one of the most awesome Ferris Wheels in the world – the Jupiter.
- Fireworks (Feuerwerke) – In 2016, you are promised a unique experience with two colorful sky shows and musical fireworks displays over Michelsberg hill – one on Wurstmarkt Tuesday on 13th September and the second one on the last day of the festival.
What Else is Around?
- Marquee Spreuer
- The Wine and beer hall gentleman (Wien und Bierhalle Ehresmann)
- The Super Wellenflug whirligig
- Limburg Abbey
With all of the above attractions and amusements, Wurstmarkt Bad Dürkheim invites all lovers and connoisseurs of wine to be its guests!