Festival DOs and DON’Ts: Strolling through the Mainzer Weinfest & Künstlermarkt
While these notes are based on our recent visit to the big annual Mainz Wine Fest and Artist Market, I’ve noticed that they would apply to nearly any festival.
1. DO have enough cash on hand. While there was a cash machine (geldautomat) somewhere on the park grounds, I never did see it. If you want to buy some souvenirs, food or drink, you need cold hard cash.
2. DO come hungry. There are a ton of different food booths at every corner as well as drink booths too. If you’re looking for something exotic, like African or Spanish tapas, check out the festival maps either online or located throughout.
What are our favorite German festival foods? Pommes frites, Kartoffelchips, Currywurst, Crepes with a variety of different savory and sweet fillings. What are our faves? Bella loves Crepes with Nutella while my favorites are Camembert with preiselbeeren (like cranberry jam) or cheese and salami.
3. DON’T wait until the last second to figure out where the toilets (WC) are located, especially if you have children with you, a small bladder, or both. Once again, consult the festival maps. And don’t forget your small change. If there’s an attendant, it’s typically 0,50€ for a visit. It’s worth it if you like having toilet paper, soap and water when you visit the WC! (The free public toilet, also at the same location, had no toilet paper nor soap available)
4. DO have a plan for transportation to and from the festival site, and if needed, during the festival. If you have little ones who tire easily, bring a pram or stroller. There are seats and benches smartly located throughout every festival we’ve visited, but be courteous if it’s attached to a food or drink vendor and purchase something.
Pram/Stroller or Baby carrier or Red Rider Wagon? Have little kids? Then check out the festival information to see if it’s stroller friendly. Some festivals are held on huge fields that are definitely not stroller friendly. That doesn’t mean leave it at home entirely. Just be aware that if it’s recently rained, the wheels could get stuck. A baby carrier, backpack carrier, or wagon would be much more practical to tote along. Otherwise, be prepared to carry a little one on your shoulders! (This is the voice of experience!)
Be a responsible driver, don’t drink & drive: We drove rather than take the bus (another option), so decided early on who would be driving home. There were taxis and buses also available near the festival grounds.
5. DON’T forget to return your glasses for your pfand deposit. A wine glass was 2€, a glass of water was 1€. If you want a souvenir glass, keep it–you already paid for it!
6. DO dress appropriately. DON’T forget: This is Germany and the weather is finicky. Rain jackets and umbrellas are normal gear for at least half the year. Temps dropped a couple of degrees while we were there (late evening) & the threat of rain lasted all day. Long sleeves and leggings are good layering pieces in case you (or your child) gets too warm to wear a coat the entire time.
7. DO look up the festival map and program times, especially if you have children or enjoy live performances. You can do this online or once you arrive. Bigger German festivals typically have a kinder play area set aside. This could be some carnival type rides and games (bumper cars, carousel) or bouncy houses. If it is a 2 to 3 day weekend festival, Sunday will usually have a focus on children. Some festivals, like September’s apple festival at nearby Appel Happel, will have an entire program set up that includes pony rides and several fun craft and sport stations for the kids to try.
8. DO watch where you walk. Each booth will typically require power and/or water so there are lengths of tubing going every which way, along and across walkways, covered by big safety “speed bumps”.
Organic material masquerading as bodily fluids…Also in case some folks can’t drink responsibly or hold their alcohol & food down, we narrowly missed a couple of really gross piles of puke.
Organic mulch masquerading as dog poop…Since people bring dogs and might not always pick up after them, watch for poop grenades.
9. DON’T be rude–DO pick up after yourselves. There is a bin for your mess just around the corner, I promise. And if you bring your dog, pick up after him too!
10. DO have a great time! The organizers have probably spent the better part of the last year working on this festival. Enjoy the fruits of their efforts!
Tchüss! And thanks for stopping by!
For news on upcoming festivals & additional information throughout the year in the Mainz & Rhinegau area, these are some of the sites I use:
- To take or not to take the stroller? (flyingktravel.wordpress.com)
- The Mainz Festival, The Speakeasy and Cooky’s Reloaded (justicelivingoutloud.com)