Olsbruecken says bye to winter with bonfire

by Petra Lessoing 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Photo by Lemon Tree Images/Shutterstock.com
A high pile of wood, which includes old Christmas trees, burns to say good-bye to winter Saturday in Olsbruecken.

The community of Olsbruecken will observe a special custom on Sunday after Fasching the burning of winter. The hiking club Pfaelzerwaldverein will co-sponsor this annual event, which has taken place since 1990.

Hikers interested in joining the “Spring Bonfire” will meet at 6:30 p.m. at the Dorfplatz (village square) in Olsbruecken. The mayor will hold an opening speech and village officials will sell torches for €2. The torchlight procession will then go through the village up to the old sports field on Oberberg hill.

“We will walk for about 2 kilometers to our forest hut on Oberberg hill,” said Ronny Faul, chairman of the PWV hiking club Olsbruecken. “It should take about 35 minutes.”

Usually, about two to three weeks prior to the event, members of the hiking group start putting up a 4.5 meter high pile of wood to be burnt near the sports field.

“Christmas trees from local residents are used to make this pile,” Faul said.

When all hikers have arrived at the pile, they will throw their torches into the pile, under the supervision of the local fire department. The fire will start, and winter will be burnt.

“Our club is running a hut on that hill, where food and beverages will be served,” Faul said. “We expect about 500 to 600 guests to join this annual event.”

For more information, visit www.pwv-olsbruecken.de.

Other communities in the Pfalz will say good-bye to winter with so-called summer day parades leading through the town, ending with the burning of piles or figures made of straw and wood.

Gruenstadt will have a March market with a carnival including rides and vendors March 10 to 13. A parade with burning of winter presentation is scheduled to begin 2 p.m. March 12; stores will be open that Sunday afternoon.

On March 26, the wine-growing village of Neuleiningen will offer a burning of winter event with a parade at 2:30 p.m., and in Speyer, a snowman will be burnt after the parade, which will start 2:30 p.m. The wine-growing community of Forst is known for its parade with a performance presenting the fight between winter and summer. Activities will begin 2 p.m. March 26.