Fasching parade to take over Ramstein

by Petra Lessoing
435th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Fasching is reaching its peak. Throughout the KMC, Fasching dances, fun sessions, masquerade balls and children’s parties are taking place until Wednesday.

One main event in the area is the Fasching parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach Tuesday. The Bruchkatze Carnival Association sponsors the annual parade, which is the biggest in the Westpfalz area with more than 1,600 participants.

“We, as organizers, are proud to be able to present such a great parade with participants who spent all their leisure time to create wonderful costumes and unique floats,” said Hartmut Schäffner, chief of the parade committee.

The parade features 18 carnival associations, seven music groups, 23 walking groups and more than 20 floats.

Ramstein-Miesenbach’s sister city in Maxéville, France, sends a float with about 50 people dressed as smurfs.

 “We are happy to again welcome our American friends to our street Fasching,” said Klaus Layes, mayor of Ramstein-Miesenbach. “The participation of various walking groups and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Marching Band has become a nice tradition within the last decades. It shows the good and friendly relationship between Germans and Americans in our city.”

The KMC is represented by about 250 people in walking groups, one float and 40 to 50 musicians from the USAFE Band.

“We received registrations for the Ramstein, Sembach and Vogelweh Girl Scouts, Cub Scout Pack 156 and the Ramstein High School Step Team,” said Claudia Beavers from the 86th Airlift Wing Host Nation office. “The 86th Construction and Training Squadron will join the parade on a truck with 20 people wearing Halloween masks.”

More than 48,000 promotion items and will be tossed to  the more than 30,000 spectators.

The almost two-hour long parade starts on Stutzenflur and August-Süssdorf-Strasse. Food and beverage booths are placed throughout the 3.25 kilometer route.

Residents along the route are encouraged 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,” Mr. Schäffner said.

After the parade, the party continues at the Haus des Bürgers. Spectators must buy a button for €2 from vendors on the street, and with this button they have free admission to the Fasching party.

A Fasching carnival with a merry-go-round and activity booths will be  set up in front of the Haus des Bürgers from Sunday through Tuesday.

In the main Fasching cities of Mainz, Köln and Düsseldorf, parades take place on Rose Monday.

Spectators from throughout Europe come to these cities to watch the annual spectacle, complete with floats, bands, dancing and marching groups. 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 Köln and Düsseldorf is “Alaaf,” and in Mainz, it’s “Helau.”

The day is called Rose Monday because the organization committee of the Köln parade, which was founded in 1824, had its general membership meetings on Monday after the so-called Rose Sunday, also known as mid-lent Sunday or Laetare Sunday.

Originally, this day was the third Sunday before Easter. Since the 11th century, the pope dedicated a golden rose to a deserved personality that day. Since 1830, the day was called Rose Monday.

Many Fasching events for children take place Fasching Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. Often, children don’t have school that day, 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.

Also, many towns offer outdoor Fasching events. In Kaiserslautern, a stage is set up next to Stiftskirche.

The local Fasching association KVK will present its Fasching princess, dancing groups and club members holding funny speeches.