Stollen Festival Highlight of Dresden Striezel Market
Once again, the 571st Dresden Striezel Market – the oldest Christmas market in Germany – has some special surprises in store for the many visitors it hopes to attract to the Saxon city from far and wide. The event’s organisers are positive they’ll reach last year’s number of 2.4 million visitors by the 24th of December, and might even be able to outdo this figure. In comparison: 2.2 million people visited the famous Dresden Striezel Market in 2003. Up until Christmas, around 1,600 artists will be providing entertainment at the market, including 21 different choruses and six miners’ orchestras.
A first highlight of this year’s Striezel market was the “Dresden Stollen Festival,” which was held on 3 December for the twelfth time now, and has become somewhat of a tradition in itself. For centuries, “Striezel” was the name of the forerunner to today’s Dresden Stollen, a sweet yeast loaf with fruit eaten by the Germans at Christmastime. Over 100,000 people visited the Saxon state capital on this day to watch the pageant, the so-called “Stollen procession,” parade through the Old Town of Dresden. There were more onlookers at the crowded Schlossplatz and along the parade’s route than ever before. Bakers and pastry chefs from Dresden carted a huge Stollen weighing exactly 4,020 kg (!!!) through the city. And as an intelligent PR effect for the Striezel Market, two world records were achieved: the world’s largest Stollen and biggest Christmas pyramid in the world!
Speaking of the economic potential of Christmas markets: according to the German Office of Tourism (DZT), around 160 million people visit the ca. 2,500 Christmas or Christ Child markets throughout Germany each year.
More information on the Stollen festival can be found on the web at www.stollenfest.de. (eap)