From October 1-3, many streets of St. Louis, Missouri are taken over by children of the Fatherland.
Strassenfest is a festival of ever-growing popularity where people of German heritage and those interested by German culture come together and enjoy old German pastimes. The festival is held behind Chesterfield Mall in a suburb of St. Louis, which made me think that the Strassenfest I so anticipated would be very small. Once I arrived, I was amazed at how large the festival was.
It seems as if German pop culture in America has somehow come together to form the St. Louis Strassenfest. While Strassenfest certainly cannot compare with Oktoberfest, I was still pleasantly surprised by how many people attended the event and were eager to participate in the festival.
As I walked around the streets of Strassenfest, I was bombarded with people in Lederhosen carrying massive steins of heavy German beer. At the festival, there were two stages where performers sang songs while drinking beer.
But two stages isn’t the end of it, there’s more! There were also multiple tents committed to satisfying the crowd’s never-ending thirst for beer.
The thing that struck me as odd as I walked around was how many stands had absolutely nothing to do with Germany… at all. It seemed that each little “German” shop was in the middle of a Dippin’ Dots stand and a face painting stand. The entertainment was entirely German, but the shops were entirely not.
After I overcame the dissapointment of these “filler shops”, I made my way to stage number two. Here, I saw the hit of the festival. The men in their traditional lederhosen were dancing with members of the audience, unwillingly pulled from the crowd. Everyone seemed to be loving the antics of the older German performers.
I really enjoyed the festival and hope it keeps growing as it has in previous years.