Erlangen’s Bergkirchweih 2012

As I said elsewhere, now that I am going to leave Germany quite soon I felt the urge to document my life in Nürnberg and Erlangen a bit. In this spirit, today I have some shots from this year’s Bergkirchweih in Erlangen. That is the drawback of film photography: you are always a couple of days late (I got the rolls back today). This is what wikipedia has to say about the Bergkirchweih:

The Bergkirchweih is an annual fair and beer festival in ErlangenGermany. Locals nickname it Berch, which is the Franconian pronunciation of the German word Berg, meaning mountain or hill.

The Bergkirchweih starts on the Thursday before Pentecost at 5PM. The opening ceremony called “Anstich”, which is carried out by the town’s mayor, takes place in a different beer cellar every year. Thousands gather to watch the opening spectacle hoping to get one of the free beers from the first barrel. Twelve days later the last beer barrel is buried in the cellar where the next Anstich will take place. The Bergkirchweih area is located in the northern extremities of the town of Erlangen and is roughly a kilometer long (0.6 mi). It contains beer cellars, booths and rides – a huge Ferris wheel is the Berch’s traditional landmark.

With its wooden benches under elms, chestnuts and oaks it is the biggest Open-Air-Biergarten of Europe with more than 11,000 seats.

The Bergkirchweih has taken place since 1755. Nowadays the time when the fair takes place is called the “fifth season”. Roughly a million people – about ten times the town’s population – visit the event, making the Bergkirchweih the third biggest fair in Bavaria after the Oktoberfest in Munich and the Gäubodenvolksfest in Straubing.

While these shots are a bit simple and mundane (i.e., they really just document) they capture quite well the dimension and the spirit of this festival. This one is my favorite one:

I decided to give the wordpress gallery a try to remove some clutter from my posts – see below. Let me know what you think and whether you would prefer to have the pictures separately or as gallery.

For the gear heads: All shots taken with a Leica M6 with a 35mm Summicron ASPH on Kodak Ektar 100.


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