Thursday, April 30, 2009

GUEST POST: Baumblütenfest

Yelli was busy with choir on Sunday, so Baby Bird and I headed off to Baumblütenfest in Werder with the TOBAMO parents group of Berlin. We met in Potsdam early on Sunday. Baby Bird and I didn't have any problems catching our trains to Potsdam, but once we got there, finding the ferry to Werder was a different story. We were walking across Lange Brücke and followed the signs to the ferry and followed some signs down some steps to the ferry Kasse. But grizzly old man fishing at the bottom of the steps told me that the way to the ferry is back up the step and all the way around. At least, that's what I think what he said, as far as I can understand grizzly old man German.

Anyway, Baby Bird and I made it to the ferry with only minutes to spare. We went to the deck above to hang out with the flock of TOBAMO boys and dads. BB noticed that all the boys were wearing shorts, so he insisted I change him into shorts! The trip to Werder from Potsdam is about an hour, and we say many boats, birdies, and dead fish in the water. The boys were in heaven:
Once at Werder, we disembarked and made our way to the fest. 50 meters from the pier, one of the parents was already handing me a cup of Obstwein (fruit wine). This is, apparently, the whole point of Baumblütenfest; drink liters and liters of Obstwein. Every fifth stand is an Obstwein stand, and they sell them in cups or in 1 liter plastic bottles. For not much money. More on this later.
We made our way to a little more "upscale" food stand, which happened to be serving slow roasted pork and potatoes. Good stuff. Right next door, though, the kids were transfixed on the electric bull. S and L knew they had to take a spin!
Then, we made our way to the rides:
We ended up trying out the bumper cars, the ferris wheel, and this super-tall slide:
We walked past the hammer of strength game. T, a dad in the group, gave it a try:
And had great success:
H, another dad in the group, didn't fare as well and ended up with a rose as a consolation prize (alas, so did I when it was my turn):
Baby Bird did his best:
One of the cool things about the fest is that average folks make cake and coffee and just sell it from their driveway. This was our group taking a breather while H was fetching some plum cake and toast with schmalz or lard with drippings. (he is German, after all):
The kids were fascinated with a nearby tractor:
and a giant bale of hay:
We finished the day with a mad dash back to the train. But that didn't stop us from another round of Obstwein:
I now know that Baumblütenfest is a nice little folksfest in a cute town not far away from Berlin. But I also learned that there are essentially two Baumblütenfests. Both happen to have the same average age, but the standard of deviation is much larger during the day: mostly parents and old folks along with little kids. Lots of fun, nasty but tasty wurst, and tons of Obstwein. In fact, the whole fest is just an excuse to drink tons of Obstwein.

But there is a transition come night fall. The parents and kids go away and are replaced with tons of sun-studio knuckleheads laden with tattoos and lip piercings carrying around the liter bottles filled with cheap Obstwein. Not a good combination. Thus Baumblütenfest has a reputation for fighting and drunken revelry. This was especially obvious to us as we passed lines and lines of cops with riot gear on.

Germans know how to put on a Fest, I guess.

It is still going on so if you are looking for something to do this weekend and you always wanted to try Birne or Pear wine, Baumblütenfest is the place to be!

Ohhh....and don't forget to say Guten Tag to the 2009 Baumblütenfest Königin!

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