Ramstein’s parade highlights crazy season

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

The Fasching parade Tuesday in Ramstein-Miesenbach will be one of the crazy season’s highlights in the KMC. The sponsor of the parade, the carnival association “Bruchkatze” Ramstein, also celebrates its 55th anniversary.

“We worked hard to make this anniversary parade an unforgettable event,” said Hartmut Schäffner, chief of the parade committee.

“We successfully motivated those groups that never were here before to participate and those that haven’t been here for a long time,” he added.

Mr. Schäffner emphasizes the fact that the associations, organizations, schools, private companies and private groups always invest a lot of time in preparations for the parade. They sew their costumes, decorate their floats and rehearse the music pieces they perform.

Six music bands, 17 carnival associations, 40 walking groups and 20 floats with more than 1,600 participants will walk in the parade which starts at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“Like each year our American friends take part as well,” said Mr. Schäffner. There will be the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band’s marching band, the Ramstein American High School Cheerleaders, Ramstein and Sembach girl scouts, RAHS Dance Team, ABC Montessori children, Kapaun School Age Children and the Deuce Club.

The French sister city, Maxéville, will be present with a float and about 100 persons.

More than 48,000 promotional items, including candies, will be tossed to 30,000 to 50,000 spectators. Along the route vendors will sell parade buttons for €2. This money helps to finance the annual event. The buttons also serve as entrance tickets to the Haus des Bürgers, where a Fasching party with music and dancing takes place after the parade. Food and beverage booths are placed throughout the 3.25 kilometer route.

***image1***The almost 2-hour long parade starts on Stutzenflur and August-Süssdorf-Strasse and goes through Bahnhof-, Landstuhler-, Kindsbacher-, Siedlungs- and Lilienstrasse back to the beginning.

Residents along the route are asked to decorate their houses to support the celebration.

“Also, parents should watch their kids, and for safety reasons, spectators shouldn’t get too close to the floats, listen to the security people and watch the consumption of alcohol,” said Mr. Schäffner.

After the parade, a Fasching party will take place in the center of town and next to the Paradox club, there is a tent with music.

A Fasching carnival with a merry-go-round and activity booths is set up in front of the Haus des Bürgers from Sunday through Tuesday.

The center of town is closed Tuesday to motorized vehicles from noon to 6 p.m. and Bahnhofstrassse is closed until 8 p.m.

Rose Monday is known for parades winding their way through the main cities of Fasching – Mainz, Köln and Düsseldorf. They feature decorated floats with funny or political themes, music bands, walking and dancing groups. Thousands of spectators in disguise observe this spectacle. The parades start at 11:11 a.m. and end between 4 and 5 p.m.

The Kaiserslautern carnival association, KVK, starts “Street Fasching” at 2:11 p.m. Tuesday. KVK members sing, dance and hold funny speeches on a stage near Stiftskirche.

Most stores close at 1 or 2 p.m. Tuesday. Also, banks and official institutions will close to give employees the chance to celebrate Fasching.

Ash Wednesday will end the crazy season. Carnival association members and party-goers meet one more time for their traditional “Heringsessen,” the eating of herring. The herring is supposed to help ease hangovers.

Also on Ash Wednesday, Lent, a 40-day fasting period for Roman Catholics starts.