From humble 14th century origins, the Frankfurt Dippemess has grown to become the Rhine-Main region’s largest folk festival, attracting approximately 2.5 million visitors to its spring and autumn editions every year. With fairground rides, traditional market stalls and a thrilling fireworks display, this September’s spectacle is set to be as charming as ever.
What is ‘Dippemess’?
‘Dippe’ relates back to the region’s pottery-making heritage, as the term used to describe its ceramic bowls and pots. In mediaeval times, these were traded at the ‘Maamess’ market, which soon became a busy, central hub for craftsmen from the surrounding countryside.
The market became so popular, and indeed lucrative, that enterprising locals decided to add an amusement fair to proceedings. However, in the mid-20th century, the fair outgrew its city centre location and moved to more spacious surroundings at the Frankfurt Fairground, or Festplatz, on Ratsweg. Now, approximately 500,000 people attend the fair’s autumn event every year.
This autumn’s Dippemess will take place between September 12th and 22nd. The event is generally more relaxed than its spring counterpart, making it especially popular with families. As a result, both adults and kids will find plenty of activities to keep them occupied on site:
The festival starts on a Friday with some ceremonial keg tapping - if you’re not a beer aficionado, this refers to the art of opening a keg properly, avoiding excess foam. After watching the event, head to one of the festival's beer tents, where you can sample some of Germany's best brews.
Take the time to browse through the traditional pottery stalls, which sell all sorts of household wares and trinkets including local ceramic pots and bowls, as well as a variety of other handcrafted artisan products. Try the apple wine, a Frankfurt specialty served in a rustic earthenware jug, along with other German classics such as bratwurst and wienerschnitzel. Each year around 150 traders set up shop here, so there’s plenty to sample and explore.
In the evenings, folk concerts take place in the marquee, while on the final night a spectacular fireworks display rounds off proceedings in a suitably climactic way.
Local arts and crafts provide a great insight into Frankfurt's heritage, but it’s the fairground attractions that really steal the show for the kids. Featuring roller coasters, ghost trains, merry-go-rounds and swing carousels, this is rustic family fun at its Germanic best. Plus, if you time your visit for a Thursday, you can take advantage of the fair's 'Family Day', when families get half price tickets on rides.
It takes around 20 minutes in a taxi to reach Festplatz from the Radisson Blu Hotel Frankfurt – driving yourself is not recommended as the surrounding residential streets are closed to visitors’ traffic. Alternatively, take the U-Bahn (line 7) to Eissporthalle/Festplatz, which is located right by the fairground entrance.