Düsseldorf’s Summer Fest rivals Oktoberfest

No need to wait for October

When one hears “festival” and “Germany” together, the country’s famous Oktoberfest immediately leaps to mind. But there is another festival that rivals the fall fest, at a time that could be far more doable for tourists on their summer vacations.

For ten days in late July, the left bank of the Rhine River through Düsseldorf will be transformed into the site of a German party with all the trimmings: local beer, food, and fun. The event, dubbed “The Biggest Fun Fair on the Rhine,” will run from July 17 through 26 and is one of the top four events of its kind, according to the Düsseldorf Tourism, the city’s visitors’ bureau.

Though July is historically the wettest month in Düsseldorf, with a bit less than four inches of rain on average, it is also the warmest month, though the average high temperature in July is a very pleasant 70 degrees F. In October, the average high is about 59 degrees, with slightly less than three inches of rain. Imagine that warm German summer air filled with the scents of German BBQ, beer and wine. Combine those with music, lights, and wild rides for an a sensation that draws scores of visitors to the river’s left bank and millions of visitors to Germany each year.

The fair offers a combination of traditional fest and modern entertainment. The event began as a day of remembrance for the city’s patron saint St. Apollinaris and today blends the authentic flavors of yesteryear with the thrill of state-of-the-art rides and some of the biggest moveable rides in the world, making it an event for the entire family.

Certainly, there are beer tents where adults can sip their suds while listening to live music. There are also food venues where servers wear traditional costumes and serve a wide variety of German festival food including sausage, roast, pig knuckles (which I recently discovered during a trip to Poland), potatoes and sauerkraut to apple cake and ginger bread.

Visitors can also experience the fair from a distance by taking a Rhine River cruise during the closing fireworks on July 24. The cruise on the “MS Riverstar,” starts at 7:00 pm and ends at midnight and the fare of €75 per person includes a dinner buffet, music, and perfect firework viewing from the boat’s open-air deck. More information is available here.

In addition to the event itself, there is much to see and do in Düsseldorf, which is one of the fastest growing international leisure destinations in Germany. International visitors often combine a trip to the fair with an exploration of Düsseldorf’s other world-class attractions, including the city’s historic Old Town.

To promote the fair, Düsseldorf’s tourism office is offering hotel and city specials. A package called “Biggest Fun Fair on the Rhine” can be booked directly from the tourism office’s website. Prices start at €62 per night per person based on double-occupancy for a two- to three-star hotel in the city center and at €69 per person for a four-star hotel. The package includes breakfast, a ride on the Ferris wheel, a DüsseldorfCard that allows access to public transportation within the city limits as well as 30 free or reduced admissions to city attraction), and a city information package.

There are a number of convenient flight options, with direct service available to Düsseldorf Airport (DUS) from seven U.S. cities including New York City and Newark, N.J.; Atlanta; Ft. Myers and Miami, Florida; Chicago and Los Angeles.

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