“The Ramstein Welfare Bazaar began as a community fundraiser in 1965 and has since grown into not only Ramstein’s favorite annual event, but it has also grown into the world’s largest military bazaar: a four-day multinational extravaganza featuring over 140 vendors and 25 food vendors.
Still a community fundraiser, every penny of the Ramstein Welfare Bazaar’s net proceeds benefits the Kaiserslautern Military Community in the following calendar year. Beneficiaries of those proceeds include student and spouse scholarship recipients, Boy and Girl Scouts, youth and community programs and more…..all thanks to your generous support. ” –Ramstein Bazaar
For anyone who hasn’t yet checked out the bazaar, I highly recommend it! We went Friday morning and even at opening time the hustle and bustle was in full swing. Two plane hangars and a large tent abound with products from all over Europe. My friend and I found parking easily as they have a large lot cordoned off for the event and several volunteers organizing it. Thursday and Friday were stroller days which was helpful for me, but if you plan to go this weekend they are not permitted inside the buildings to make things a bit less chaotic for the crowds they’re expecting.
There are so many amazing booths set up, we’re new to the area so everything was new to us! Stacks of Polish pottery abound, I learned that Belgium chocolate tastes the best! There are wines to sample and Christmas decorations to buy. Several toy shops will capture the attention of the kids, mine were particularly in awe of the wood burners shop where you can get swords, shields, plaques and more engraved with your child’s name on the spot.
Lunch was a treat as well, there are rows and rows of tables set up outdoors for your dining convenience, and the food tents encircle the area, all of their rich smells combining to lure you away from your shopping! We had an excellent drunken BBQ chicken sandwich and funnel cake, but I hear the beer can chicken booth is to die for if you can stand the long line for it!
Overall, it probably takes about two hours to walk through the vendors and then another half an hour for lunch or dinner, so plan to set aside a chunk of time when visiting. Everything has really been taken care of to maximize your convenience, each tent is even equipped with its own credit card station (Visa & Mastercard or USD accepted, although some booths will do $1=€1). Inform the vendor that you would like to pay with a card and they will give you a slip to take back to the station. Finish your shopping and you can do all of your payments at once and then return to the booth and collect your merchandise.
I’m sure as more of the Christmas markets begin this year we’ll all tire of seeing the same products, but since this was my first one as a newbie here, I thought everything was charming. I hope you enjoy your trip as well, if you have any tips to share, I’d love to hear them!
The Bazaar is still open Saturday from 10-8 and Sunday from 10-5.