Augsburg, Germany, July 2009 — As the heat of summer gives way to the idyllic temperatures of autumn, several members of Historical Highlights of Germany’s 14 consortium cities — Heidelberg, Münster, Potsdam and Regensburg — are offering a range of activities and festivals designed to excite a broad spectrum of travelers. The events include one of Europe’s most extensive and popular jazz festivals — “Enjoy Jazz” — kicking off in Heidelberg, and hosting jazz greats from around the world. Münster celebrates the fall with the region’s oldest annual “Send” (Fun Fair), serving up an abundance of family-friendly amusements and rides and a full range of culinary specialties; while Potsdam showcases its Harvest Festival, where regional exhibitors offer fresh local produce and handmade products at a castle where Prussian royalty once resided. For its part, Regensburg rolls out its centuries-old Herbstdult festival, featuring a bounty of beer and wine tents, amusement park rides, music and more.
Music takes front and center at the 11th annual “Enjoy Jazz” festival, October 2 to November 11, kicking off in Heidelberg at the Heidelberg Castle, whose ruins are among the most significant Renaissance structures north of the Alps. The opening concert features American jazz great Charles Lloyd, a tenor saxophonist and flutist renowned as an innovator in the New Age jazz movement and one of the medium’s most accomplished stylists. Other artists performing throughout the six-week showcase include Wayne Shorter, Branford Marsalis, Jan Garbarek and Cassandra Wilson. The festival also serves as an ideal venue to catch young rising talent, such as Norwegian singer Krtisin Asbjørnsen and Canadian musician Mocky. “Enjoy Jazz,” scheduled to travel to Mannheim and Ludwigshafen as well, will be headlining upwards of 60 events.
Drawing more than one million visitors each year, Münster’s “Send” fair, October 22 to 26, proffers up an eclectic array of activities that keeps the whole family busy. Set to the backdrop of the city’s picturesque baroque castle, the fair offers an extensive carnival with upwards of 250 operators participating with rides that run the gamut, food and drink of all types, steam organs playing nostalgic selections and a huge fireworks display on the second night of the event. The first day of the festival is known as family day and also attracts bargain hunters to the extensive homeware market – when the stands offer 20% reductions. Travelers can also take in the attractions of the city, with its stately mansions and burghers’ houses, and an Old Town surrounded by a ring of gardens straddling ancient fortifications.
In Potsdam, the celebratory mood focuses on the city’s Harvest Festival, taking place the weekend of September 26 and 27 at the Krongut Bornstedt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled on Bornstedt Lake. It sits near Sanssouci Palace, constructed in 1747 for Frederick the Great, with a terraced vineyard appointed in a rococo style of architecture. The festival takes in the rural character of the region — featuring shepherds and breeders presenting their most prized animals, where, similar to America’s 4-H fairs, the best of breeds receive awards. Regional exhibitors showcase handicrafts and fresh products, while culinary specialties are served in a nearby brewery’s terrace and gardens. Live music plays in the background while small children enjoy pony rides. Dorint Sanssouci Hotel and Steigenberger Hotel – Sanssouci come recommended. Information on Potsdam and its offerings can be found at www.potsdam-tourism.com.
Regensburg’s Herbstdult (the Fall edition of the twice-annual “Dult” festival), returns for an August 28 through September 13 run. The festival, whose roots can be traced to the 14th and 15th centuries, has been offered every year since 1929. Heralded in (and out) with a tremendous fireworks display, the “Dult” takes on something of an Oktoberfest feel during the Fall, with beer and wine tents, oompa music and marching bands, but also retains its more cozy nature, making it an ideal venue for families. Numerous amusement park rides, stalls selling an array of local products and crafts and fresh baked fish and other food specialties take center stage for many of the visitors – and, of course, the opportunity to explore the historic city of Regensburg. The “Dult” is a mere 10 minutes walk from the city’s Old Town, a UNESCO-designated site with structures spanning two millennia, combining Roman, Romanesque and Gothic buildings.
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