Bernkastel festival honors wine heritage with parties, parades, pyrotechnics

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
It is festival season in Germany. The Rhine Aflame festival just happened, the Wittlich Pig Fest takes place Aug. 19-22 and another highlight event in the Eifel is quickly approaching.

Bernkastel will celebrate its traditional "Wine Festival of the Middle Mosel" Sept. 2-5, attracting thousands of visitors from across the region and elsewhere to honor the Riesling wine heritage with parties, parades and fireworks displays.

More than 50 wine-growing towns will participate in the event, the largest of its kind along the Mosel River.

Visitors to Bernkastel, the center of the Mosel wine industry, can experience Riesling wines at one of the town's old wine-cellars or enjoy the Mosel hospitality and entertainment offered in hotels, wine taverns, restaurants or traditional coffee houses.

The adventurous can follow a cobblestone path behind the statue in the market square, through vineyards. Base members are encouraged to take photographs of the Eifel region's panoramas of the Mosel River that has the largest continuously-linked vineyard slopes in Germany.

The Bernkastel Middle Mosel Festival officially starts at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 2 with the opening of the amusement ride park and handicraft market along the Mosel Rivershore in Kues. The wine queen "Mosella" Melanie I will be officially announced and welcomed in the market square, greeted by the city mayor, Wolfgang Port. The Dutch Larry Cook Brass band will perform in the market square following the official opening remarks.

Wine stands are lined up and will open at 4 p.m. Sept. 2 and the Newa Quartette from St. Petersburg, Russia, plays music for visitors until about 5 p.m. Entertainment by local music associations will follow and occur in various spots throughout the pedestrian area and in the market square.

An entertainment program will start at about 8 p.m. Sept. 2 in the market square, featuring performances by folk-dancing groups, performances by local bands, a fanfare parade and a choir performance by the Bernkastel Altstadsaenger or old city singer.

All About Joel - The Billy Joel Tribute Band will perform a concert on the Karlsbader Platz stage from 8 p.m. until midnight Sept. 2.

Activities begin again around 11 a.m. Sept. 3 with the opening of the market. Performances in the market square will include as show and dance band performances.

Several European bands and musicians will be on stage and in the area around the wine stands throughout the entire weekend.

The amusement park will be open throughout the festival.

A fireworks display from the Burg Landshut castle and the Mosel shore will take place from 9 to 9:30 p.m. Sept. 3.

The Undercover-Mission to Rock band will perform a concert on Karlsbader Platz from 9:30 p.m. until midnight.

Another highlight of the Bernkastel festival is a folk parade at 2 p.m. Sept. 4, which features about 100 floats and bands parading through the city. Following the parade, music and dancing will continue until late at night. The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band Check Six will perform a concert from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Sept. 4 in the market square.

The festival will officially come to an end around midnight Sept. 5. However, the handicraft remains open until 7 p.m. Sept. 6 and amusement rides will close at 1 p.m. Sept. 5.

The drive from Spangdahlem to Bernkastel takes about 45 minutes and follows a route near the Mosel River.

Visitors may expect the town to be crowded during the weekend and are encouraged to arrive early to find parking.

Parents are advised not to bring small children to the evening events because of the large crowds that are expected.

Visitors must arrange for transportation after consuming alcohol. Police controls are enforced every day of the festival. Taxis will be available throughout the day.