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Speyer Brezelfest - The Largest Pretzel Festival in Germany

Updated: 4 days ago

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Introduction: Speyer Brezelfest - The Largest Pretzel Festival in Germany

Speyer Brezelfest, Germany, festival, pretzel festival, Speyer Cathedral, Dom zu Speyer, Maximilianstraße, parade, floats, German beer, beer tent, food vendors, traditional Bavarian culture, amusement rides, carnival, family-friendly, festive atmosphere, fireworks, live music, swashbuckling pirates, witches, plush camel, shade, sunscreen, water guns, firetruck hose, souvenirs, Brezelfest Stein, German beer mug, crowds, early arrival, summer event, community celebration

brezel = pretzel / brezelfest = pretzel festival


Speyer's Brezelfest, a delightful celebration held in the charming town of Speyer, Germany, is a must-visit summer event! Known as the world's largest pretzel festival, Brezelfest is a vibrant mix of traditional Bavarian culture, mouthwatering pretzels, lively music, and thrilling amusement rides (like all true German festivals). Each July, locals and visitors alike gather to indulge in delicious food, refreshing beer, and a festive atmosphere filled with colorful parades, fireworks, and carnival fun. Whether you're savoring a freshly baked pretzel, dancing to folk tunes, or enjoying the fairground attractions, Brezelfest promises an unforgettable experience of German cheer and hospitality.


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If you want to experience the festival in full swing, I recommend heading over in the late afternoon (after 3 or 4 pm). As you can see from my photos, there was hardly anyone around. My friend and I arrived early to beat the crowds and traffic, easily find parking, and settle in for the parade. While this plan worked out, we did arrive before the food vendors opened. Most vendors started serving around noon, and the rides didn't kick off until about 2 or 3 pm. When we got there, it looked like a ghost town with shop tents still setting up. Thankfully, one beer tent was open when we arrived at 10:30 am, so we could at least enjoy a beer while we waited!


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Once the food vendors finally opened, I embarked on a mission to find some delicious German festival food! On the right, you can see a delectable spread: a Schweinsteak sandwich (pork sandwich), Pommes (french fries), Champignons mit Knoblauchsoße (mushrooms in garlic sauce), and Rindfleischspieße (beef skewers) in a savory sauce.


Delicious!


However, I wasn't too impressed with the mushrooms; I've had better at other festivals. The pork sandwiches are always a hit, but I made the mistake of forgetting to ask for garlic sauce, leaving it a bit dry. On the bright side, the beef skewers were tender, falling apart, and oh-so-good. The french fries were standard but came with curry-style ketchup, a common twist at festivals, so if your ketchup tastes a bit different, that's why!


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As you can see (above), Nichole and I made sure we took the appropriate Speyer Brezelfest photos before we became hot, sweaty messes!



Speaking of the weather, it was scorching yesterday with a high of 104°F (40°C). I'm from Virginia, where I'm used to intense heat and 100% humidity, so I usually find Germany's weather quite mild and bearable. But yesterday was exceptionally hot! We sought shade whenever possible and slathered on plenty of sunscreen.


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We planned to grab a beer and some food, and then find a spot for the parade, hoping to leave quickly afterward to minimize our time in the heat. However, the parade, which started at 1:30 pm, had us waiting for an hour since our spot was at the end of the route. The procession itself lasted another hour and a half. Fortunately, we found a mostly shaded area and a drink stand across the street where we could buy water. Over five hours, we drank at least 4-5 bottles of water each to stay hydrated.


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This softeis (soft serve ice cream) never tasted so good...

The perfect treat to help stave off the heat!


This is the part of the story where are arrive at what we came for!


The parade!


Note: The parade route starts on Friedrich-Ebert-Straße and then winds its way along Wormser Landstraße, Hirschgraben, Bahnhofstraße, Postplatz, to the Via Triumphalis and ending at the festival site.


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We exited the festival grounds and passed the towering Dom zu Speyer (Speyer Cathedral) onto Maximilianstraße to wait for the parade. As you can see on the left-hand side, there was shade for most of the afternoon (though it disappeared toward the end), making it an excellent spot. Since the parade concludes in Cathedral Square, we were positioned right at the end of the festivities.


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If you haven't attended a German parade yet, you're in for a real treat. The Germans know how to throw a party, and their parades are no exception. From decorative and elaborate floats to fun party trailers, there's something for everyone. Plus, they toss out candy, carrots, flower seeds, and other treats along the way! Kids absolutely love it and have a blast. Just be warned: sometimes they throw these items with a bit too much enthusiasm. I nearly got hit in the face by hard candy several times. So, be ready to duck!


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It was a bit too hot yesterday, but typically, you'll see many parade participants with a drink in hand, and they're often willing to share (as shown above)! It's a good idea to bring a cup to a German parade because many people walk around with bottles of wine, liquor, or mixed drinks. Simply hold out your cup, and they'll happily pour you a drink. While I can't keep up with that pace anymore, if you can, go for it! It's all in good fun!


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You'll encounter all sorts of costumes at these parades, from swashbuckling pirates pulling a cannon (with loud booms) to witches pushing a baby dragon in a stroller (which had me in stitches), and even a plush camel. The variety is endless, and nothing is off-limits. Expect the unexpected and enjoy the spectacle!


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The city turns out in full force for this event to showcase its clubs, marching bands, and sports activities. Many participants hand out flyers, inviting you to join their groups. It's a fantastic opportunity for organizations and businesses to gain visibility and attract new members.


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Also, don't forget it's Brezelfest! Pretzels will be flying into the crowd!


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I highly recommend bringing a bag to hold all the goodies you collect, especially if you have children. We ended up with two collapsible bags full and we weren't even trying hard.


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One more thing to mention: be prepared to get a little wet. Due to the heat, the Germans were ready to cool us down with water throughout the parade. The firetruck had a hose, people carried water guns, and some kids flung water from their bottles as they walked by. There's no avoiding it unless you stand toward the back. So, be sure to hide any equipment or items you don't want to get wet when you see them coming!


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The parade lasted about an hour and a half, with over 70 floats participating, and ended around 3:30 pm. Afterward, we took one last lap around the festival to see everything in action, since nothing was open when we first arrived. My friend Nichole was on the hunt for a Brezelfest Stein (German beer mug) from a souvenir shop we had heard about, but unfortunately, we couldn't find it.


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We left around 4:00 pm, just before the festival hit its peak. I prefer to avoid crowds and late nights, so my usual routine is to arrive early, see what I want to see, do what I need to do, enjoy a beer or two, eat some good food, take photos, and then head out.


So, what are you waiting for?


Mark this festival on your calendar now!


If you're still undecided, here's a video of the festival I uploaded to YouTube:


Where is it Exactly?


Attending German events always adds an element of adventure! They often don’t provide exact details, expecting you to know where to go and when to arrive (I feel like Germans just instinctually know where to go lol). Luckily, in this case, this event does offer a detailed program if not a detailed location.


Note: As a general rule, when attending German events, head towards the Rathaus or the local church. From there, just follow the locals, and you'll be in the right place!


For Brezelfest, if you use Google Maps and search "Brezelfest Speyer," it will pull up the Herbstmesse Festplatz. Head in that direction. You can also walk towards the Dom zu Speyer and you should be able to see others walking in the direction of the festival from there. It's a giant festival, you can't miss it!



Parking


Since we went early, we found free street parking nearby.

Note: On the Speyer Brezelfest website, they have a parking list link provided under their "frequently asked questions."


Another option of course is to take the train!


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Cost


The festival itself is free to attend. Although, if you plan to buy anything, bring cash. I spent about 40-60 euros on food, water, and beer.


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Special Events

Their website has a schedule for the entire event, and they even host a special theme night where everyone dresses in traditional dress—we have to take advantage of every chance we can to wear our dirndls and trachten!


Hint: You can find the date/time for the parade here. There are two. An opening one, and then the major parade (Sunday, July 14th, 1:30 pm, 2024)


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What to Bring


Suppose you are attending the parade, maybe some chairs, sunscreen, water, a bag, and a cup! Otherwise, you can find everything you need at the festival itself.


Note: You don't see many Germans bringing chairs to parades overall. Unsure if they find it rude or if it's just something they don't think to do. These portable folding stools (Amazon Affiliate Link) are a great option for light portable seating that doesn't take up room!


Some other items you might want to consider purchasing to stay cool:

  • Neck Fan (Amazon Affiliate Link)

  • Cooling Ball Cap or Bucket Hat (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    • I love these because you can soak them in water and pop them on your head for an extra cooling effect! I have an orange one from over 4 years ago that I still wear.

  • Rollable Sun Hats w/Ponytail Hole (Amazon Affiliate Link)

    • I have this in white, black, and tan. They are great!


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What to Wear


Dress appropriately for the weather, of course. Always wear comfortable shoes with which you can walk on uneven European streets. Another thing to consider is if you are planning to stay out late at night, you might want to wear closed-toed shoes. As the night progresses at these festivals, you'll find more and more glass littering the ground. Unsure how wild this particular festival gets, so it's best to play it safe.


Some choose to wear trachten (dirndl & lederhosen), but I believe this might be reserved more so for their theme night (July 13, 2024).


Some of my favorite summer


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Crowds


Not only is Speyer's Brezelfest the largest pretzel festival in Germany, but it's also the largest beer festival that can be found in the Upper Rhine Region, attracting over 300,000 visitors a year. Therefore, as the day goes on, you may find it increasingly crowded.


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Food & Drink Cost


You can click on the photos below to see pricing on items offered at the festival so you can better understand what to expect. I forgot to take a picture of the food stands I visited. Usually, everything is 10 euros or less.



What is a Pfand


The pfand is your drink deposit to help ensure you return your glass. At these festivals, when ordering a drink, you will be charged for the price of the drink and the pfand (in this case, at the beer tent, it was 2 for me). Therefore, if your drink is 6, you will pay 8 at the counter. When you are done, bring your glass back to wherever you purchased your drink and wait in line to refund your pfand. The key is to return to the original location where the purchase occurred. Each drink stand is often independent and does not refund pfands or take glasses from other perspectives.


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Dogs


I never advise anyone to bring their animal to these festivals. First, it is July; it was 104 when I was there. Not great for anyone in those conditions. Secondly, one must consider the crowds, noise, and the possibility of broken glass on the ground. Unless they are your service dog, and necessary to your well-being, leave them at home.


If you bring your fur baby, please follow Hello it's Jasper's guidelines she details in her Brezelfest Blog Post. Or message her for suggestions and advice! Sam is a well-seasoned traveler and her adorable doggo Jasper is always by her side.


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Turn It into a Trip


Speyer was beautiful and had so much to do. If I had known about this beforehand, I may have booked a place to stay and explored the town. Kaiserslautern and Beyond made a very detailed post if you want to see suggestions for what to see when visiting Speyer.


If you'd like to find a list of FAQs, head to their website at the link here.

The website is a wealth of information; you should generally check it out!


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