Stage set for weekend medieval fest

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Gräfenstein Castle near Merzalben will be the stage for a medieval fest today through Sunday.

From all over Germany, participants come to this festival dressed in the original costumes of knights, lansquenets, jugglers, minstrels and craftsmen.

In a knights’ camp, different knights groups will present sword fights and lansquenets will perform funny plays. Jugglers and fire-eaters will show off their skills and music groups will perform medieval songs on unique

And children can also get involved; they can listen to fairy tales, participate in theater activities and play on a dragon boat.

Witches and magicians will offer miraculous items and herbs, and fortune tellers will tell visitors what to expect in the future. Blacksmiths, weavers, wood-carvers, stone masons, potters, soap-makers and basket-makers will demonstrate their medieval crafts and vendors will sell their merchandise.
The fest starts with market activities at 5 p.m. today. The official opening is at
6:30 p.m. with a parade, the announcing of the market rules and the tapping of the first keg of beer. A live concert by Dhalias Lane performing Celtic music will take place from 8:30 to 10 p.m. A fire show will close the evening at 10:30 p.m. Activities will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. Admission is €6 for adults, €3 for children, and children shorter than a sword (1.30 meters) are admitted free. Visitors in medieval costumes only pay €3. A ticket for all three days is €14; the tow-day ticket is €10.

Gräfenstein Castle is a rock castle near the town of Merzalben. The upper castle was built on a 12-meter tall oval-shaped sandstone that includes a keep and a great palace.

 In its beginning, Gräfenstein served as an administration center for the surrounding farms and villages and had the defense capacity.

In 1220, Gräfenstein Castle was first mentioned in a document. During the Thirty-Years War, Gräfenstein was burnt down accidentally in 1635 when imperial troops, who used the castle as a garrison, were careless with fire. From then on, Gräfenstein Castle has been ruins. In the 20th century, the castle was partially renovated. It is open to visitors throughout the year.

Merzalben is located northeast of Pirmasens. Travel on the B-270 toward Waldfischbach-Burgalben, then make a left toward Donsieders, Clausen and Merzalben. Past Merzalben, take a right toward the castle. Visitors can walk up to the castle by foot or take a shuttle bus.

For more information, visit