Two views of Europa Park before entering: the one on the left from outside in a parking area; the other, inside the fence but not inside the amusement park itself.
Europa Park is a huge entertainment park in the manner of Disneyland and Disney World. It is the largest seasonal theme park in the world, with 4 million visitors a year. Each year it becomes larger, with new rides, new buildings and new live entertainment, attracting families and others from all over Europe and beyond.
In late September and early October the owner brings in a band and entertainers from the Hofbräuhaus in München. There is no cover charge and no cost other than for any food and drinks that one might order. This year, a Mass of beer (1 liter) cost Euro 8.80. Not cheap, but the entertainment was free. The largest Oktoberfest in the world is held in Munich each year during the last week in September and the first week in October, with the most famous beer hall being the Hofbräuhaus, which is open all year. The beer hall has nothing to do with the Oktoberfest, but they do have a huge tent during that period along with another 13 or so other large tents erected for the celebration.
The young girl opposite is also dressed in Trachten.
The fest brings to mind another visit to the Europa Park back in the early 1990s. In years past, Hans organized medieval dinner evenings there for Canadian friends and colleagues who were still here (before the closure of Canadian Forces Base Lahr in 1993 and 1994). These dinners were held during the winter months when the park was closed. (It still offers many forms of entertainment during those months, including the medieval dinners. The park closes for the season this year on 6 Nov 2011, re-opening in early April 2012.) On that particular occasion in 1993, we were one of the last to leave, getting home a little after midnight.
Both of us in our bibs at the dinner. The spots on us were on the negatives received, so it is not that we were sloppy!
The six of us ate, drank beer and wine and soft drinks, clapped our hands to the live music, held arms and sang and swayed back and forth together--sitting and standing, but not on the benches as many of the younger crowd did, although it was tempting; in earlier days I suspect most of us would have done so.
The young crowd standing and clapping on the benches beside us and Hans on the right with a filled Hofbräuhaus beer glass.