Medieval spectacle takes place at Gräfenstein Castle this weekend

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In the middle of the Palatinate forest, on Gräfenstein Castle, the community of Merzalben will celebrate its annual Medieval Spectacle today through Sunday.

The event, which has been organized with the support of a medieval group called Phantasia Historica, will highlight the Middle Ages by presenting jousting tournaments, musical entertainment, juggling, fire shows, craftsmanship presentations and children’s activities.

“Participants will come from all over Germany,” said Helmut Simgen from Phantasia Historica. “There are knight groups, lansquenets, jugglers, music groups, minstrels and craftsmen dressed in medieval costumes.”

The Federfechter knights groups will lure the visitors with sword fights to their knights camp, and lansquenets will perform funny plays.

The well-known juggler duet Jomamakü will entertain with juggling skills, fun and a fire show. The musicians Heidenspass, Deus Aie, Triu cum Laute, Jean, Jaques and Nicola will provide musical entertainment and perform medieval songs on unique instruments.

Children can fight against strong Vikings, listen to Absolom’s stories, and watch William’s magic skills.

“We want to get visitors experience the Middle Ages. Craftsmen such as blacksmiths, turners, weavers, wood-carvers, stone masons, potters, painters, tanners and tailors will demonstrate how they worked in former times, and sell their handmade items,” Simgen said.

Local sports club will serve a variety of food and drink specialties.
Festival hours will be from 5 to 10:30  p.m. today, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is €6 for adults, €3 for children, and free for children shorter than a sword (1.30 meters). Today, tickets cost half price. Visitors in medieval costumes only pay €3. A ticket for all three days is €10. The two-day ticket is €10.

 “We are looking forward to a great fest and hope to welcome thousands of visitors,” Simgen said.

Gräfenstein Castle is a rock castle near the town of Merzalben. In 1220, Gräfenstein Castle was first mentioned in a document. During the Thirty Years’ War, it was burned down accidentally in 1635, when imperial troops, who used the castle as garrison, were careless with fire. From then on, Gräfenstein Castle has been ruins. In the 20th century, the castle was partially renovated. It is open to visitors throughout the year.

Merzalben is located northeast of Pirmasens. Go on B270 toward Waldfischbach-Burgalben, then left to Donsieders, Clausen and Merzalben. Past Merzalben, take a right toward the castle. Visitors can walk up to the castle by foot or take a shuttle bus leaving from the visitor’s parking lot.

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