We really missed going to local festivals last summer during the pandemic shutdown. One of our favorites is a Picnic series held at German Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The picnics are normally held on the last Saturday of June, July and August.
Between 2,000-3,000 people attend each picnic! You can find information for these events on the German Park website.
This is definitely a family friendly event. Families spanning muliple generations come together to spend the day. Many people who attend come adorned in alpine hats or German costumes.
They did not have a picnic in June this year, so we decided to go to the one in July. The weather was absolutely perfect. The event begins at 4pm and is held at an enormous park just minutes from the city of Ann Arbor. Parking is free and admission is $5 per person. Once you enter, there is a stand where you can buy tickets to use for your food and beverage purchases. This year they also added a merchandise tent where you could buy t-shirts, commemorative pins or beer steins. They accept both tickets or credit cards for merchandise purchases.
We usually try to arrive around 3:45 in order to get into the long line waiting for the gates to open. Although it looks daunting, it moves really fast. Those who arrive first get the best picnic spots. They bring table cloths to claim their space and come equipped with playing cards, games and their own beer steins. This is seriously an all day event.
Our favorite site is in the main pavilion because the roof provides us with some shade and we get a good view to watch the performers. Once we have our spot set up, Mark heads out to get us a 64 ounce bucket of beer. They also have bottled water, soda, or wine located at different stations around the compound.
Although we like to wait a little while before eating, it’s always hard to hold off since you can smell the wonderful food from wherever you are in the park. There is a wurst stand for those who just want a quick sausage or a pretzel. If you want a full meal, head to the canteen where they serve a variety of locally made sausages (from Dearborn Sausage Company), warm German potato salad, spatzen (you can opt to add brown gravy), sauerkraut, and desserts. You can customize your selection or go through the Autobahn lane which is quicker but only offers a full plate lunch with no substitutions. It usually costs $11-$13 per person for the works.
The band begins playing lively music as soon as the gates open. Around 6 pm different dance groups take turns performing. It’s especially fun to watch the small children dancing in their traditional costumes. During the performance breaks, people from the audience fill the stage to show off their dance skills as well.
Watching them takes me back to being a little girl and learning to polka with my Grandpa.
It sure felt good to be able to attend this type of event once again. Covid shutdowns last year really made me grateful for each and every thing that we get to do.
Spending an afternoon at German Park is always a summer highlight for us. Can’t wait to go again next year!