The Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival is a celebration of German heritage, an excellent time to dress up in dirndl or lederhosen, and enjoy traditional traditional food, drinks, and songs. Read on to see why this festival attracts people former all over the Midwest to Michigan’s Little Bavaria.
Frankenmuth is a small town in central Michigan, famous for being the home of the world’s largest Christmas store and serving up internationally recognized chicken dinners (in Venice, Italy we told someone we were chatting with we were from Michigan and they asked if we’d ever eaten chicken in Frankenmuth -what a small world!). This past weekend my husband and I had the pleasure of attending the annual Bavarian Festival, which celebrates the German heritage that many residents share. Frankenmuth seemingly always has some sort of festival going on, so there’s always something unique to do (see the hot air balloon festival here!)!
We took the opportunity to dress in traditional outfits, which you can read about here. Personally, I think dressing festively is half the fun of events such as this one. Aside from getting dressed up, there is lots to do in Frankenmuth during the Bavarian Festival for guests of all ages, and any time of the year.
Music & Dancing
There was never a shortage of singing & dancing at the Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival. There were several designated dancing & drinking tents and areas around town for festival goers to celebrate in, and all of them were packed to the brim with people singing along, clapping & dancing. Street musicians lined the sidewalks, and inside several restaurants there live bands as well performing anything from traditional German songs to their own renditions of modern music. The Bavarian Princess court, pictured above, joined in a few songs and dances as well.
Food & Drinks
As vegetarians, we sometimes worry that we won’t be able to find somewhere to eat, but Frankenmuth has so many options that it’s never an issue! Whenever we visit, we make sure to stop at Prost (read my review of Prost here) because their wine & charcuteries boards are not only unique, they’re out of this world delicious. Like I said above, Frankenmuth is famous for its chicken dinners, so if you’re a meat eater, definitely give those a try while you’re in town at either Zehnder’s or the Bavarian Inn.
The festival itself offers lots of unique foods in the beer tents and from street vendors, so whatever you’re in the mood for, you’re likely to find it here! Small shops & fudge stores line the main street, and the River Place mall is filled unique small businesses (including an amazing crêpe shop I highly recommend), where you can find all sorts of things to eat like international cheeses at the cheese house and beers from around the world.
In addition to the food, drinking, dancing, and live bands all around town, there’s no shortage of things to do while in town for the festival. For children, there was face painting, free movies, and bouncy castles. We were enchanted by the sand sculpting competition that took place across the street from the main festival tent – they were incredible! The river boat takes passengers up and down the Cass River on a tour of the wildlife & sites up the stream, and there are several museums in town to explore, in addition to lots and lots of shopping!
This multi-rider bar on wheels was called the Ped-Ale, and all weekend long it took participants all around town while they drank. Every time it rode past us, we could hear people singing and laughing, and it seemed like a great time!
Fireworks & Parade
The fireworks display was held on Saturday evening as soon as the sun went down, and it was spectacular! It lasted about 20-25 minutes and was absolutely gorgeous. I think it’s worth a visit just for the fireworks displays, personally. We sat in the Zehnder’s restaraunt parking lot and had a perfect, unobstructed view of the show. The following day, there was a parade that made its way through the city featuring bands, musicians, floats, dancers, and groups from all over the city.
See more fun festivals, here.
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