Carnival Parade in Stuttgart

Carnival Parade in Stuttgart, Germany

Whoever thinks Germans are serious and have no sense of humor obviously hasn’t been to the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart.

This was only my second carnival parade in Germany, but I was surprised at how different it was than my first Carnival Parade in Grosselfingen, a small village only an hour from Stuttgart.
Happy girls at Carnival parade in Stuttgart, GermanyThe carnival parade procession consists of just over 2000 participants and they all seemed very jovial, which was different than many of the solemn faced participants in the Carnival Parade in Grosselfingen (except for the drunk guys).  I was also pleased to see a lot of female participants in the carnival parade as there wasn’t a single one in the Grosselfingen Carnival Parade.
Carnival parade costumes in Stuttgart, Germany

The costumes were also completely different than the costumes seen in the Carnival Parade in Grosselfinfen.  While I really enjoyed the wide variety of costumes seen in the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart, my favorite costume was from the Carnival Parade in Grosselfingen, shown on the left.  How can you beat towering multi-colored flowers?

Carnival parade in Stuttgart, Germany

I loved the many masks seen at the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart.  Normally the masks are scary looking meant to scare away winter, but most of the masks I saw were very happy.  Perhaps they are taking ng a “killing them with kindness” approach to winter?  Either way, the masks were my favorite part of the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart.  I will be writing more about the masks in an upcoming post.

Carnival parade masks in Stuttgart, GermanyCarnival parade masks in Stuttgart, Germany

The Carnival Parade in Stuttgart is big, but by no means the largest in Germany, so I was surprised to see that there were not that many floats, the one below was the most elaborate, and it was a treat with people swinging from it, but  the rest were very simply done.  Most of the Carnival Parade consisted of people dressed up, walking, which while still interesting, is different than what I’m used to in Canada, where the floats are the stars of the parade.
Crazyfloat at Carnival parade in Stuttgart, Germany

There were also lots of bands, which you also see in parades in Canada.  I enjoyed the eclectic music selections ranging from everything to traditional carnival songs to “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.  It definitely got the 200,000+ specatators if not in a dancing mood, then in a swaying mood.
Carnival parade band in Stuttgart, Germany

Politcal statements are more popular in the larger parades along the Rhein, such as in Cologne or in Mainz.  My Swabish friends proudly tell me that is one reason why carnival is better in the state of Baden-Württemberg.  There were only 2 political references (that I saw) in the carnival parade in Stuttgart, but the one was a rather low blow  with the Governor of Baden-Württemberg telling the mayor of Stuttgart that they deal with protesters of  Stuttgart 21 Project ( a major railway project that has been sparked with controversy and protestors)by pepper spraying them – a reference to an event that happened several months ago with tens of thousands of protesters which left one man blind.
Carnival parade politics in Stuttgart, Germany

Interesting there was also anotherCarnival parade jeep in Stuttgart, Germanycontroversy in the Carnival Parade.  Can you guess what it is by the photo on the left?

Stuttgart is headquarters to Mercedes and Porsche, both of which have large prominent museums in Stuttgart and Germans are very proud of German cars.  There was a collective gasp of horror among us as people saw the offending Jeep.  My Russian friend and I burst out laughing at the “controversy.”

I was pleased to see one of my favorite museums in Stuttgart make an appearance, the Pig Museum!  When I later asked J.P. why there was no float for either the Mercedes Museum or Porsche Museum, his response was “Because everybody knows about those museums, nobody knows about the Pig Museum.  Hopefully participating in the Carnival Parade resulted in a few more admissions.  It was kind of hard to miss a gigantic pig!
Carnival parade pig in Stuttgart, Germany

While there were many differences between the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart and in Grosselfingen.  One thing was the same, there were a few crazy people drinking, but to be fair the participants in the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart were only drinking beer.  In the photo below, the girl on the right holding a microphone, drinking a beer was actually a reporter and drinking beer between takes. Too funny!
Carnival parade in Stuttgart, Germany

Children candy at Carnival parade in Stuttgart, GermanyAnd lastly, if you read my First Impressions of a Carnival Parade in Germany post, you may remember that I was feeling very sorry for German children, who were being given buns, pretzels and sausages with only the smallest quantities of candy being handed out.  I am happy to report that children at the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart scored big time!  So much candy was being thrown out that we were getting pelted with it.  I even managed to score a few pieces!

What are your impressions of carnival?

See more places to visit in Germany.

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains, an adventure travel blog and company that helps people plan their hiking, cycling and wildlife vacations in a sustainable way. Although Canadian, she lives in Germany. You can find her in the mountains on most weekends.



  1. Christine March 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    This looks like such a fun experience, and great photos! I’ll take a place where candy is raining down anytime 🙂

  2. Laurel March 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    @Christine – I loved it, it was so much fun and so nice to see everyone having so much fun. And candy is so much better than giving out bread!

  3. Mette Christensen March 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Beautiful photos. I wonder who ho takes part in the processions, how they areorganised and whether it’s commercial? Do you know?

  4. Grace March 11, 2011 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Hey cool! The gigantic pig came out to play. It’s so odd for me though that their masks resemble witches. Will pop back for your post about this.

  5. Glen March 11, 2011 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Great pics and interesting post, as always

  6. Laurel March 11, 2011 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    @Mette – Thanks. Most of the participants in the carnival parade were from clubs or bands. There were a lot of dancing and gymnastics clubs. I didn’t see a lot of commercial involvement (at least that was obvious), it really did seem to be more about the people, which I thought was a nice change.

    @Grace – I know, I love that gigantic pig! The idea of the masks is to scare winter away, but I have to find out how the happy masks are supposed to do that.

    @Glen – Thanks!

  7. CN Heidelberg March 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    This parade looks awesome! Maybe that’s where I need to go next year to get a break from Heidelberg’s little tiny Fasching…
    I think the happy masks are welcoming in spring.

  8. Laurel March 12, 2011 at 9:17 am - Reply

    @CN Heidelberg – I was really impressed with the Carnival Parade in Stuttgart (but to be fair I only have 1 other small parade to compare it to). Good to know about the happy masks, thanks for clarifying. I was wondering about that.

  9. katherine March 12, 2011 at 10:59 am - Reply

    I love this post and the pictures. Wish I had gone! the carnival in Köln does not have the best traditional costumes. I mentioned the whole candy thing to M and he said its because people in BW are “cheap”. But good to know that the kids in Stuttgart did not miss out!

  10. The NVR Guys March 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I think those masks would scare the hell out of me as a kid.

  11. Arti March 14, 2011 at 3:19 am - Reply

    It looks fun… So much color and the masks look very interesting too, loved the pics and the whole atmosphere!Thanks for sharing such a beautiful part of the world with us:)

  12. Tracy D March 14, 2011 at 5:16 am - Reply

    That float looks a little Mad Max to me, not exactly ‘festive’ like is it!

  13. Laurel March 14, 2011 at 8:59 am - Reply

    @Katherine – Thanks so much! I would love to go to the carnival parade in Köln but am surprised to hear they don’t have the best costumes, I would have assumed they would have been spectacular. Regarding M.s comment – too funny, but true. I’ve heard a lot of Swabians admit they’re cheap.

    @The NVR Guys – But those are the happy masks, there are worse ones to scare winter away 🙂

    @Arti – I loved the colors and the masks too, especially seeing all the different masks.

    @Tracy – The float wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen, but it was very entertaining.

  14. Nomadic Samuel February 14, 2012 at 5:38 am - Reply

    Loving your new site Laurel. This is a great photo essay 🙂

  15. Lisa Goodmurphy March 1, 2014 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    I had no idea that Carnival was celebrated with parades in Germany – it looks like so much fun!

Leave A Comment