Enjoying the music.

David A. L. Davies

Meerbusch, Germany

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The Bergkirchweih is an annual fair taking place in Erlangen, Germany. Locals nickname it Berrch, which is the Franconian pronunciation of the German word Berg, meaning mountain. The Bergkirchweih starts on Thursday before Pentecost at 5PM. The opening ceremony called “Anstich,” which is carried out by the City’s Mayor, takes place in a different beer cellar every year, with thousands gathering to watch the opening spectacle with a huge fight for beer. Twelve days later the last beer barrel is buried in the cellar where the next Anstich will take place. The Bergkirchweih area is located in the northern extremities of downtown Erlangen and roughly a kilometer long (0.6mi). With its beer cellars, booths and rides and its huge ferris wheel, which is the berch’s traditional landmark, it is a festival for the whole family, no matter how young or old. With its ale-benches under linden, chestnuts and oaks it is the biggest Open-Air-Biergarten of Europe with more than 11,000 seats. The Bergkirchweih has taken place since 1755. Nowadays the time when the fair takes place is called the “fifth season”. The Bergkirchweih is the third biggest fair in Bavaria after the Oktoberfest in Munich and the Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing. Most people that have been to the Bergkirchweih once in their life-time say that it is much better than the Oktoberfest and don’t want to miss it ever again.

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