Grab a wurst and a beer and get ready for Hermann’s Maifest. One of Missouri’s oldest German festivals, this three-day event gives a nod to the area’s German heritage while also celebrating the start of the summer months.

Children gather around the Maypole at Hermann’s Maifest, one of the oldest German festivals in the state.

By Caroline Dohack

Wanting to wish summer a hearty Willkommen? Then you won’t want to miss Hermann’s Maifest, held May 17–19 in historic Hermann, Missouri.

One of Missouri’s oldest German festivals, Maifest brings the best of Old World springtime capers, including Maypole dancers, beer gardens, wursts, and polka music. Lederhosen is optional, but don’t be surprised by the number of people you see wearing it. 

“We encourage everyone to wear their German attire” says Tammy Bruckerhoff, Tourism Director with Visit Hermann. “You will see Alpine hats and flower crowns. People do like to get dressed up for Maifest weekend.”

Bruckerhoff says the family-friendly event gives a nod to the area’s German heritage while also celebrating the end of the school year for local children.

“There’s a lot of kid activities, the biggest one being the Schnitzeljagd fur Kinder, or kid’s scavenger hunt,” Bruckerhoff says. “Local businesses collaborate on those every year. When the kids finish, they get some knick-knacks and toys.”

Grownups get a similar game, called the Volksmarch, which takes participants on a crawl of participating businesses, sampling wares enjoying special offers at each location. The first 40 participants are awarded Maifest medallions.

Another special offering during Maifest is the Volksplatz, a showcase for local artists and makers selling fine art, crafts, food items, beverages, and more. Artisans also give live demonstrations of skills from bygone eras.

“It’s a lot of stuff you don’t normally get to see otherwise, like tintype photography at the Historic Hermann Museum or blacksmithing at Wagon Works,” Bruckerhoff says. 

Meanwhile, there are tours of historic sites and popular local attractions such as the Deutschheim State Historic Site, Historic Hermann Museum, Stone Hill Winery, and Hermann Farm. 

On Sunday, a Maifest parade brings the weekend’s events to a close. This year’s parade theme is Life in Color. 

Photos courtesy of Visit Hermann.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.