Otterberg celebrates spring fest

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Since the middle of the 18th century, Otterberg has celebrated a spring festival every two years. This year, the festival will begin Saturday and end Monday.

The local mayor and Spring Queen, Laura I., will officially open the event at 7 p.m. Saturday in front of the Abbey Church. The enthronement of the spring queen will take place with musical support from the Music Association Harmonie from Otterberg. At 8:30 p.m., the regional and renowned band Favorits will start entertaining the audience for the rest of the night.

Following tradition, loud gun salutes will wake up the Otterberg citizens at 6 a.m. Sunday. Then musicians of the Music Association Harmonie will walk through the streets of the medieval village and perform a musical wake up call.

The highlight of the spring fest will be the parade with its more than 1,000 participants that will lead up to the decorated main street at 1 p.m. Sunday. Decorated wagons and people in costumes will present the colorful history of Otterberg — there will be people dressed as Cistercian monks, Huguenots and Wallonians, and noble people in horse-drawn carriages. Spring Queen Laura I will follow the group in a festive horse-drawn carriage. Local schools,  kindergartens, associations and businesses will participate as well.

After the parade, everybody will walk about 2 kilometers outside of town toward Höringen to the festival grounds in the forest, where festivities will continue. For those who don’t want to walk or can’t walk, a shuttle bus will be available.

Various music groups from neighboring towns will entertain visitors in the forest. Local restaurants will be in charge of providing food specialties and drinks. Children can enjoy pony rides and the Kaiserslautern Zoo will also be there with some animals. Following tradition, the climbing tree will be a challenge for youth. Everyone who can climb up to the top will receive a present.

Local council members will pass out pretzels to children.

The Spring Fest will continue Monday when the Otterberg Music Association will march to the festival area in the forest again. Visitors are welcome to join the march starting at 2 p.m. from the town hall (Verbandsgemeindeverwaltung). Again, the forest will turn into a fest area with musical entertainment, eating and drinking. At 6:30 p.m., the festival will close out with a parade walking back to the square in front of the Abbey Church. Here, officials and participants will thank the forestry office for letting them use the fest area in the forest.