Fasching continues with parties, dances, parades

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Photo by Stefan LayesThousands of spectators in disguise watch the annual Fasching parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach. This year’s parade starts at 2 p.m. Tuesday on Bahnhofstrasse.
Photo by Stefan Layes
Thousands of spectators in disguise watch the annual Fasching parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach. This year’s parade starts at 2 p.m. Tuesday on Bahnhofstrasse.

Fasching is reaching its peak. Throughout the weekend, Rose Monday and Fat Tuesday, Fasching dances, fun sessions, masquerade balls, children’s parties and parades are taking place.

The most famous Fasching parades are those in the main Fasching cities of Mainz, Cologne and Duesseldorf. Spectators from Germany and throughout Europe come to these cities to watch the annual spectacle with decorated floats, bands, dancing and marching groups. Participants in vehicles throw out candy or hand out drinks to the crowds along the streets. It is traditional for revelers to sing, sway and dance during the five-hour parades which all start at 11:11 a.m.

The official Fasching greeting in Cologne is “Alaaf,” and in Mainz and Duesseldorf, it’s “Helau.”
Ramstein-Miesenbach’s carnival association Bruch-katze will sponsor its 65th annual parade on Fat Tuesday.

Here, the official shout is “Ralau.” The almost two-hour-long parade will start at
2 p.m. Tuesday. It will lead from Bahnhofstrasse to Landstuhler Strasse, on to Jahnstrasse, Siedlungsstrasse, Lilientrasse, Spesbacherstrasse and Miesenbacherstrasse back to Bahnhofstrasse and then August-Suessdorfstrasse, where it will end.

“Again, our parade will be the highlight of the Fasching season in the Westpfalz,” said Hartmut Schaeffner, chief of the parade committee. “We expect more than 1,000 participants and 21 floats.”
There will be 34 walking groups, 12 carnival associations and 6 bands.

“Like each year, our American friends will participate as well,” Schaeffner said. “A highlight will be the USAFE marching band.”

The Ramstein Girl Scouts will walk in Halloween costumes, the Ramstein fire station will present special pick-up vehicles and the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse will show off their skills.

More than 48,000 promotional items, including candies, will be tossed to the 30,000 to 50,000 spectators. Food and beverage booths will be placed throughout the 2.4-kilometer route. Spectators should wear Fasching outfits and residents along the route are asked to decorate their houses to support the celebration.

“Also, parents should watch their kids, and for safety reasons, spectators shouldn’t get too close to the floats,” Schaeffner said. “Polizei, the volunteer fire brigade, German Red Cross, office of public order and military police support us each year and help to make the event a success.”

To be able to finance each year’s parade, vendors will be out in the streets selling parade buttons for €2 to spectators. These buttons grant free admission to the Fasching party, which takes place after the parade at the Haus des Buergers.

Also, in the center of town, Fasching activities will continue and a Fasching carnival with a merry-go-round and activity booths will be set up on Marktplatz.

Tuesday, the center of Ramstein-Miesenbach will be closed to motorized vehicles from noon to 8 p.m.
“Fasching Princess Anne I. and all Bruchkatze members are happy to welcome spectators from all over to join the fun,” said Schaeffner.

Other parades in the Pfalz will start Sunday at 2:11 p.m. in Linden, 1:30 p.m. in Leimen and Dahn, and 2:11 p.m. in Rodalben.

Many communities offer other outdoor Fasching events. In Kaiserslautern, a stage will be set up near the Rathaus (city hall) on Fat Tuesday. The local Fasching association, KVK, will present its Fasching princess, dancing groups and other members. The official shout in Kaiserslautern is “Kalau.”
A Fasching carnival with rides, a Ferris wheel, food and candy booths will take place Saturday through Tuesday around Stiftskirche.

In most German states, children don’t have school Shrove Tuesday. And usually, people who work take off in the early afternoon. In most cases, employers allow them to do so, and stores, banks and official institutions close anyhow at 1 or 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Ash Wednesday will end the crazy season. Carnival association members and party-goers meet one more time for their traditional “Heringsessen,” the eating of herring. The herring is supposed to help ease hangovers. Also on Ash Wednesday, Lent, a 40-day fasting period for Roman Catholics, starts.

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