Dresden Stollen Festival
The Dresden Stollen Festival
The Dresden Stollen Festival is a quite young festival. It was celebrated for the first time in 1994. In the meantime, it has established itself as part of Dresden`s cultural life and is considered to be the highlight of the Dresden Christmas fair (Striezelmarkt). Originally, the festival was planned as a single PR-Event for the Dresden Stollen. Meanwhile, it has been an important advertising medium for the „Christmas Capital Dresden“ and takes place every Saturday prior to the 2nd Advent.
The festival and its elements promote Dresden`s most well-known proprietary article, the Dresden Stollen, the skills of Dresden craftsmen, and the Christmassy town itself. Each successive year, more and more trade guilds, associations or crafts enterprises participate in the Stollen Festival. Therefore, it gradually becomes also a show of traditional Saxon handicraft.
More than 700,000 guests from all over the world have been attracted by the festivities. The Christmassy spectacle has been broadcast on all German TV stations as well as several American and a Japanese television channels. Increasingly, travel agencies offer special trips to the Dresden Stollen Festival.
The highlights of the festival are the baking of a Giant Stollen weighing 3 to 4 tons and the traditional procession of Dresden bakers and pastry chefs across the city’s baroque Altstadt (Old Town). After the festive unveiling ceremony with Countess Anna Constanza von Cosel (Birgit Lehmann) and court jester Frölich (Matthias Schanzenbach) and the announcement of the weight in the courtyard of the world-famous Zwinger, the colorful festival-convoy proceeds across the baroque Altstadt (Old Town). The procession passes the most import historic sites as for example the Semper Opera House, the Royal Palace, the Cathedral, the Fürstenzug („Procession of Princes“), the Frauenkirche, the Coselpalais, the Albertinum, and the Bruehl Terrace. The destination of the procession consisting of the wagon with the Giant Stollen, further horse-drawn vehicles and all kinds of fancy bits is the oldest German Christmas fair, the Striezelmarkt, at the Altmarkt (Old Market).
At the Striezelmarkt, the huge cake is cut in a festive way. The ceremony of the first cut has always been performed by the Royal Master Baker and the Stollen Maiden. They use the 1.20 meters long silver-plated Dresden Stollen Knife for the first cut. Then, the Giant Stollen is cut into pieces and sold to the visitors. Each portion (about 500 grams) costs 4 Euro. Visitors get the portions in exchange for the so called Stollenthaler directly at the Stollen wagon. The Stollenthaler are available for 4 Euro at the Striezelmarkt, in the Zwinger and in the surroundings of the procession. Parts of the revenues of the sale are donated to a charitable venture. An entertaining stage performance with the participants of the festival and prominent guests completes the festivity.
The Stollen of the first festival in 1994, weighing 2,720 kilogram, became a record and was registered in the Guiness Book of Records. Dresden’s bakers and pastry-chefs were able to top the record several times in the succeeding years. The Stollen of 2000 holds the record. The super-cake was exactly 4,200 kilos in weight. More than 80 bakers and pastry-chefs of the Stollenschutzverband („Trade Protection Society Dresden Stollen“) participated in the process of baking. Among many other ingredients, about 1.5 tons of flour, 2.5 million seedless raisins (sultanas) , 455 kilos of sugar, and 44 liters of Jamaica rum were needed to make the huge stollen.
Since 1995 the Dresden Stollen Festival has been accompanied by the figure of the Stollen Maiden (Stollenmädchen). The Stollen Maiden is elected for one year as the representative of the Dresden Stollen and as the „face“ of the festival at the beginning of each new Stollen season.
The Dresden Stollen Festival is patented.
You will get further information about the individual elements of the Festival in our special rubrics. The latest news can be found under NEWS. Furthermore, you will find important visitors’ information under VISITORS.