The Messeplatz fairgrounds in Kaiserslautern will turn into a big amusement park today to Oct. 28, when the city sponsors its traditional “Oktoberkerwe,” or October carnival.
The carnival will feature rides for adults and children, a wide range of merchandise, and food and candy specialties.
The history of carnivals in Kaiserslautern dates back to March 1571, when Emperor Maximilian II granted the town of Kaiserslautern the right to hold two cattle markets each year.
For this event, travelers came to town, and the traditional “Kerwe,” or carnival, which nowadays is held in May and October, started to develop.
Since World War II, the “Lautrer Kerwe” has had the reputation of being the biggest folks fest in the Westpfalz. Today, the carnival has between 200,000 and 250,000 visitors.
Oktoberkerwe will open at 5 p.m. today. The tapping of the first keg of beer is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the festival tent. When it’s dark, around 9 p.m., a fireworks display will light up the sky.
The amusement park will feature a variety of rides, such as a roller coaster, the “Hot Shot,” the “King” and the “Crazy Mouse.” “Fantasy Drive” is a new haunted house that guarantees a good scare. The “Europa-Rad” is a giant Ferris wheel that provides views from 165 feet up.
Children can have fun with skills games and take rides in miniscooters, merry-go-rounds and on ponies.
Beer gardens, the chicken tent, and the bistro and wine tent will lure hungry and thirsty visitors. Palatinate and international culinary specialties such as crispy chicken, ham hocks, crepes, pizza and fish will also be available at the food booths.
The “shopping street” will take visitors on a shopping trip. Until late at night, visitors can buy a variety of merchandise, including clothes, curtains, household items, leather goods, jewelry, spices, and arts and crafts items.
The ride owners and vendors will say goodbye to their customers with a fireworks display at around 9 p.m. Oct. 28.
The rides will be open from 2 to 11 p.m. each day, and until midnight today and on Saturdays. Some food booths and vendors will open at 11 a.m. each day.
Like every year, stores in Kaiserslautern will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. the first Sunday during the October carnival. Wednesday will be Family Day with reduced prices on rides and merchandise.