Stuttgart’s traditional festival is one of the biggest in the world
The 176th Stuttgart Beer Festival
From 22nd September to 8th October 2023 the Cannstatter Wasen, the 25-hectare festival site on the banks of the Neckar, will once again be the scene of intercultural encounters. The Stuttgart Beer Festival is Baden-Württemberg’s biggest and most important festival and attracts some 4 million visitors annually to the state capital.
The original harvest festival has long since developed into a popular public celebration with an international impact. On 22nd September the seven beer tents, the historic wine tent and the Alpine Village will open their doors to the public and the fairground rides will get underway. Round about the Fruit Column, the traditional festival’s historic symbol, some 320 showmen, hosts and stallholders have a wide variety on offer. A double-looping roller coaster, autoscooters or Chair-O-Planes: modern attractions or old favourites – they’re all here at the Wasen. In the festival tents hearty dishes such as grilled knuckle of pork, fried steak or Swabian “Maultaschen” (filled pasta) are served to go with the mugs of beer.
The first festival on the Cannstatter Wasen was held more than 200 years ago. Originally the idea of King Wilhelm I of Württemberg and his consort, Queen Katharina, it began as a combination of a festival for the general public and an agricultural fair, with horse racing and prizes awarded for outstanding achievements in cattle breeding, and was intended to aid the recovery of Württemberg’s battered economy in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The very first festival opened on 28th September 1818, the day after the king’s 36th birthday.
The fact that 2023 is the 176th anniversary of this merry traditional festival is easily explained: by order of King Karl, the Wasen was held only biennially from 1882 onwards, and this continued up to the king’s death in 1891. Along with the repercussions of the two World Wars and the two cancellations in 2020 and 2021, this resulted in Stuttgart having to go without its festival for 30 years in all.
Every four years, parallel to the Stuttgart Beer Festival, the Landwirtschaftliches Hauptfest (LWH) – South Germany’s largest trade exhibition for the agriculture, forestry and food sectors with nearly 700 exhibitors and a total area of 130,000 m² – is also held at the Wasen fairground. The focus of the LWH at the Cannstatter Wasen will be on livestock, technology, nature and nutrition under the motto “Landwirtschaft erLEBEN!” (the Agriculture Experience).
Beer Festival Opening Times:
Monday to Thursday: 12 noon to 11 pm
Friday and prior to public holidays: 12 noon to midnight
Saturday: 11 am to midnight
Sunday and public holidays: 11 am to 11 pm