Fasching parade comes to Ramstein Tuesday

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Fasching, Germany’s “crazy season,” will continue through Tuesday with masquerade balls, dances, children’s parties, funny sessions and colorful parades.

Ramstein-Miesenbach’s carnival association Bruchkatze will sponsor its parade on Fat Tuesday, whereas most other towns will have their parades on Rose Monday.

The most famous Fasching parades are those in the main Fasching cities of Mainz, Cologne and Düsseldorf. Spectators from Germany and throughout Europe come to these cities to watch the annual spectacle with decorated floats, bands, and 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 Dusseldorf, it’s “Helau.”

In Ramstein-Miesenbach, Fasching participants shout “Ralau.” The almost two-hour long parade will start at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The parade will lead from Bahnhofstrasse to Landstuhler Strasse, on to Jahn-, Siedlungs-, Lilien-, Spesbacher- and Miesenbacherstrasse back to Bahnhofstrasse and then August-Suessdorfstrasse, where it will end.

“We try to make the 64th annual parade the highlight of the Fasching season,” said Hartmut Schäffner, chief of the parade committee. “We expect more than 1,400 participants and 24 floats.”

There will be 50 walking groups, 15 carnival associations and three bands.

“Like each year, the (U.S. Air Forces in Europe) marching band will join our traditional event,” Schäffner said.

The Ramstein Dental Clinic and the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse will walk in the parade. The construction and training squadron will present its “Haunted Tent City,” and the Ramstein fire station will show off a historical manual water pump.

More than 48,000 promotional items, including candy, will be tossed to 30,000 to 50,000 spectators. Food and beverage booths will be placed along the 2.4-kilometer route.

Residents along the route are asked to decorate their houses to support the celebration.
To be able to finance each year’s parade, vendors sell parade buttons to spectators for €2. These buttons grant free admission to the Fasching party that takes place after the parade at the Haus des Bürgers.

“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,” Schäffner said. “Parents must watch their children, and spectators should not get too close to the floats.”

A Fasching carnival with a merry-go-round and activity booths will be set up from Sunday through Tuesday on Marktplatz.

On Tuesday, the center of Ramstein-Miesenbach will be closed to motorized traffic from noon to 8 p.m.

“Fasching Princess Svenja I and all Bruchkatze members are happy to welcome spectators from all over to join the fun,” Schäffner said.

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

Many communities offer other outdoor Fasching events. In Kaiserslautern, a Fasching party with performances and disc jockeys will start at 2 p.m. on Rose Monday between Schillerplatz and Stiftskirche. On Shrove Tuesday, a stage will be set up near the “Rathaus,” or city hall. 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 at 1 or 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Ash Wednesday ends the crazy season. Carnival association members and party-goers will 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 begins.