Events and street festivals
Germans spend all their time at work? Nonsense. The people of FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM) love being outside and breathing life into their streets. There is always something going on, all year round: indoor concerts, open-air concerts, movie screenings, festivals, children’s theatre plays, outdoor markets, sports events and so much more. Especially in the summer, there are no uneventful weekends.
Traditional festivals (“Volksfeste”) are especially popular. They take place anywhere, from small villages to big cities. A typical event in our region is the “Kerb”, “Kirmes” or “Kirchweih” – depending on where in FRM you live. They are community festivals taking place on one weekend every year. They are places for residents to meet and be merry together. Children get to play on small fairground rides and enjoy games, while adults indulge in food and drink in a festival tent. These festivals frequently open with a specific tradition, e.g. everyone putting up a decorated tree together. Look at the website of your city or municipality to find out about Kerb/Kirmes/Kirchweih events near you.
In addition, FrankfurtRheinMain also hosts internationally significant events.
The biggest festival of the region is the Museumsuferfest in Frankfurt. Every year, it takes place on the last weekend of August along the banks of the Main River. Over the course of three days, 23 museums present an extraordinary programme on stages set up on the left and right side of the river. All museums in the area stay open until the early hours on these days.
The Schlossgrabenfest in Darmstadt is not only the largest music festival in Hessen, it is also one of the largest free open-air events in the entire country. Every year, the last weekend of May is dedicated to four days of live music from many different genres, including some famous artists.
Germany’s biggest annual street festival takes place in Wiesbaden on the second weekend of June. The Theatrium, better known as Wilhelmstraßenfest, offers food from all over the world, a great deal of music and entertainment, fun rides and a craft market.
The Rheingau Musik Festival is one of Europe’s largest music festivals. Internationally renowned orchestras and solo musicians play over 170 concerts between June and September. During those months, the Rheingau region turns into one huge concert stage due to the many historical event venues. While the festival is primarily dedicated to classical music, it also incorporates other genres, such as jazz. Of course, no event in the Rheingau would be complete without the region’s main export: there are plenty of wine tastings to go around!
Between mid-May and late July, Hanau hosts the Brüder Grimm Festspiele. This festival features open-air performances of Grimms’ fairy tales in the palace gardens. Children and adults love the stories about Hansel and Gretel, Frau Holle, Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood.
Fans of open-theatre have another event to look forward to every year: the Burgfestspiele in Bad Vilbel. They start in early June and last until late September. Every year, countless visitors flock to this town to watch the performances staged here. Over the past years, the event has also been catering to families and children more intensively.
Many regions in FRM are famous for the wine they grow. Of course, there are plenty of wine festivals. For example, the annual vineyard walk on Bergstraße is organised on 1 May every year. Participants walk along the vineyards on a signposted route that connects the cities of Heppenheim, Bensheim and Zwingenberg. They can sample local wines sold by winegrowers waiting at the roadside.
During the weeks leading up to Christmas, the season of Advent, people all over FRM enjoy the world-famous German Christmas markets. Sparkling lights, Christmas trees and regional Christmas products such as mulled wine (“Glühwein”) and gingerbread (“Lebkuchen”) spread a wonderfully festive atmosphere. The Christmas market in Frankfurt is among the best-known of its kind in Germany. It even boasts the country’s largest Christmas tree! Visit the regional tourism website for an overview of all Christmas markets in FRM.
Don’t forget the “fifth season” in Germany: carnival season! From 11 November until Ash Wednesday (a few weeks before Easter), Germans celebrate “Fasching”, also called “Karneval” or “Fastnacht”. The name of the season varies from region to region (and even within FRM). The carnival period culminates in an street parade one week before Lent, usually in February. On that day, the streets are filled with people in costume. Do not be surprised if your bus driver shows up in a clown’s costumer and the supermarket cashier wears a colourful wig.
It is a day of celebration and partying. Of course, children love this time of the year. Festively decorated floats drive through the streets, throwing sweets for the people. Even smaller cities tend to organise some activities for Fasching, but the events are not all the same. In FRM, the undisputed capital of carnival is Mainz with its big Shrove Monday procession.
These are just some of the entertainment highlights in FRM. Look beyond the big cities to find interesting, lesser-known festivals and events. The smaller towns of FRM have a lot to offer, too. The websites of the cities and municipalities will inform you of what is happening where. For a handy overview, have a look at the event calendar of the regional tourism website.