Fest demonstrates old craftsmanship

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Trippstadt will celebrate its annual “Kohlenbrennerfest,” charcoal burners’ fest, Saturday and Sunday. Members of local clubs and associations will be in charge of demonstrating old skills to include the burning of charcoal.

A coal kiln, amassed of large amounts of wood, is gathered a week prior to the fest. A kind of chimney is surrounded by many sticks and covered with turf. The brushwood is then lit and the kiln starts burning. Then the charcoal burners watch the burning day and night for up to a week, keeping the air outside the kiln. If the smoke coming out is blue, the burning process is correct.

After the burning, the kiln falls down. The big charcoal pieces are chopped up, the others are raked, and all is collected and packaged for sale to the visitors.

During the fest, the whole process will be demonstrated again – one kiln will be built, another will burn, and a third will already be burnt down.

Besides the traditional charcoal burning, there will be demonstrations of old craftsmanship, children’s activities and live music.

In former times, charcoal was needed to smelt iron ore. Due to the abundance of forest and the waterpower of the Moosalb creek, the first smelting-works were established in the Trippstadt area in 1728.

After many trees had been cut down, a new kind of tree, the fast-growing white pine, had to be planted. It was the perfect tree for charcoal making.

Visitors of the fest can also make a stop at a historical smithy with demonstrations of shoeing horses and making Celtic medals. Silver smiths also create jewelry made of gold, silver and copper.

Sunday, children can get their faces painted or they can color caps and chest pouches. There also will be a children’s flea market. In tents on the village square, in the center and some yards, local clubs will serve food and beverages.

The event will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday near the kiln and at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Trippstadt is an official health resort town because of its good climate and oxygen-rich air. It is located within a wooded area, on a hill, 400 meters above sea level, 12 kilometers south of Kaiserslautern.