‘Rhine Aflame’ celebrates 50th anniversary

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image2***Saturday, towns and villages along the Middle Rhine celebrate 50 years of “Rhine Aflame.” Every year, this summer fest takes place the second weekend in August and lures about 500,000 visitors from all over.

Between Spay and Koblenz, on a distance of 17 kilometers, there will be illuminations and fireworks displays. Visitors can watch the spectacle in the towns along that route or from ships driving on the Rhine.

At 9:30 p.m., a convoy of about 80 ships starts traveling downstream from Spay to Koblenz. They pass river banks, romantic framework houses and castles plunged into Bengal lights.

***image1***Eight fireworks displays are lit between 9:30 and 11 p.m. from different locations. Marksburg Castle near Braubach will be plunged into a Chinese fireworks display with colored flower effects. The town of Rhens offers an Italian firework with music. The oriental display above Stolzenfels Palace is all in gold. The final fireworks display starts at around 11 p.m. from Ehrenbreitstein fortress right across from the “Deutsche Eck,” German corner. This biggest and oldest fireworks display has a long tradition in the garrison town of Koblenz. In 1776, a fireworks display honored Elector Johann Philip von Walderdorff, who lived in Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein. Light balls, musketeer shoots and air signals were part of the show, which was crowned with 12 cannon shots.

The participating towns of Koblenz, Lahnstein, Braubach, Rhens, Brey and Spay offer entertaining programs including music, dancing, wine fests, water performances, hot air balloon rides and guided tours.

For more information, call the Rheinland-Pfalz Tourist Information office in Koblenz at 0261-915200 or visit www.rlp-info.de.