Neustadt celebrates annual wine harvest fest

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Courtesy photoNeustadt along the German Wine Street celebrates its annual wine harvest fest with a carnival, wine village, music and fest parade through Oct. 14.
Courtesy photo
Neustadt along the German Wine Street celebrates its annual wine harvest fest with a carnival, wine village, music and fest parade through Oct. 14.

Harvest time in Germany is also wine fest time. One of the highlights of the wine fest season is the annual German Wine Harvest Fest in Neustadt along the German Wine Street through Oct. 14.

The German Wine Harvest Fest is considered the vintners’ Thanksgiving. For more than 50 years, regional vintners have celebrated the event after finishing their seasonal work in the vineyards and wine cellars. They now welcome the new season with new wines.

The traditional fest usually features a reconstructed wine village set up in front of the train station, the crowning of the Palatinate Wine Queen, the election of the German Wine Queen, a public wine tasting, Germany’s biggest vintners’ fest parade and a carnival.

The wine village is made of little framework houses called “Haiselscher,” (from Palatinate dialect meaning little houses) and booths, where local wines and food specialties are sold.

A typical season specialty offered is “Zwiebelkuchen,” or onion cake. It is similar to Quiche Lorraine and is customarily served with “Federweisser,” the first new wine for that year. “Federweisser” has a cloudy color and tastes more like grape juice than wine. It also contains less alcohol. It is still fermenting, and after a few weeks it loses its sweetness.

Next to the Haiselscher, radio station Antenne Pfalz will entertain the audience from their stage.
A carnival with rides and a fest tent is near the wine village.

Local stores will open for special shopping from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday. Family Day with reduced prices at the carnival will take place Wednesday.

Neustadt’s Hetzelplatz will turn into a giant wine probe location at 7 p.m. Thursday. The “German Wine and Champagne Meeting Point,” made of little pavilions, will lure visitors who want to sample wines from the nine wine villages belonging to Neustadt, the other 13 wine-growing regions in Germany and from the partner regions Piemont, Italy, and Südlimburg, the Netherlands, through Oct. 14.

The highlight of the wine harvest fest will be Germany’s biggest vintners’ parade with more than 100 floats, bands, walking groups, costume groups and the Palatinate and German wine queens at 2 p.m. Oct. 13. City officials expect more than 100,00 visitors.

The fest will close out with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 14.

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The German railroad company, Deutsche Bahn, offers trains from Kaiserslautern to Neustadt every half hour. The Ticket 24 for individuals is €9, and the Ticket 24+ for groups of two to five people costs €14.50. Both tickets are available at the ticket machines in the train station.