Oktoberkerwe: Enjoy games, food and fun at Kaiserslautern’s annual festival

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Kaiserslautern will hold its traditional “Oktoberkerwe,” or October carnival, today through Oct. 24 on the Messeplatz fairgrounds. More than 140 ride owners and vendors will offer their attractions, merchandise and food 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,” with its 200,000 visitors today, has the reputation of being the biggest folks fest in the Westpfalz.

Kaiserslautern’s Deputy Mayor Peter Kiefer will open Oktoberkerwe by tapping the first keg of beer at 6 p.m. today in the bistro tent. When it’s dark, around 8:40 p.m., a fireworks display will light up the sky.

The carnival will feature a variety of rides for adults and children. Carnival-goers can find excitement and speed on rides called “XXL Ranger,” “Real Shake,” “Taiga-Jet” and “Breakdance.” “Jupiter,” the giant Ferris wheel, will provide a nice view from 130 feet up.

The “Aqua Labyrinth” will provide a confusing adventure behind sparkling water heads.

Children can have fun with skills games and take rides in mini scooters, 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 “Thank you” fireworks display at around 8:40 p.m. Oct. 24.

The rides will be open from 2 to 11 p.m. each day, and until midnight Saturdays. Some food booths and vendors will open at 11 a.m. each day.

Like every year, stores in Kaiserslautern will open from 1 to 6 p.m. the first Sunday during October carnival. Wednesday will be Family Day with reduced prices on rides and merchandise.