Every year during the first weekend of August, both Germans and Americans come together in summer fest fashion! The German-American Volksfest is held on the military post of Grafenwöhr and celebrates both cultures that reside in the local area. This fest is similar to that of a state fair – games, rides, drinks, music, plus a mix of German and American cuisine. Unlike a state fair however, Volksfest features several military vehicles that you’re allowed to tour and take pictures with. But the best part? Admission is free.
When you first walk through the gate, you can see an area full of rides like the one pictured above. Think overnight-carnival type rides; the ones that just seem to appear one day on the fair grounds. They’re fun, fast, and just crazy enough to make you a little dizzy. Last year a friend and I rode a ride that is a long row of seats and it throws you up into a circle. We were so excited to ride it, but when it came to buckling in there were no harnesses and I had a good two inches between the tops of my legs and the “safety” bar. Let’s just say I spent the whole ride thinking this was how I’d go out. But oh was it fun.
Volksfest has a ton of games where you can win cool prizes. Again, think carnival games. You score enough points on whatever game you’re playing and you can take home the giant teddy bear! We attended this Volksfest with some friends, and our husbands played their hand at the shooting range. They’re soldiers so their aim was pretty excellent.
The goal is to break as many white stars as possible with the amount of pellets you’re given. Tyler hit almost all of them and won me a cute, little donkey plush! After the men, the wives gave it a shot. We all sucked – except one – so the lady who runs the game took pity on us and gave us a little heart keychain for our efforts. It was really sweet.
Our favorite game of the entire Volksfest can be seen to the left of our beautiful faces. We call it the Stein Game. The goal of this game is to make ping pong balls into the steins and glasses. If a ball goes in, you keep the cup! We made off so much better last year, but this year we still won a stein and a few cool glasses. This is a game that you can easily blow 100 euro on so be careful if you play it.
The number one thing you will find at any German fest are these gingerbread hearts. They come with all sorts of different sayings on them and are worn as necklaces quite often. Plus they taste delicious. At Volksfest you can also find a ton of other German specialities such as bratwurst, currywurst, and schnitzel. They have a stand that sells blooming onions, another that sells grilled fish, and you can find several that sell hamburgers and hotdogs for that taste of home. Another cool thing about Volksfest is that most of the food stands are set up by the troops stationed here. They create a themed stand and sell food that goes along with that specific theme.
And we can’t forget the beer. There are several places you can buy beer from and they’ll either give you a stein – with a small deposit – or you can bring your own! Our friends brought their own.
As for the military vehicles, I have no photos to show you because as Tyler says, “Why would I want to see the same vehicles I see at work everyday?” But it’s a great way for the Germans to see and better understand what our American soldiers use during the training exercises that are constantly going on throughout their country. And it’s another excuse to get drunk which seems to be a theme here in Germany!
For those of you stationed in the Vilseck/Graf area of Germany, the German-American Volksfest is one fest you cannot miss.
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