Trippstadt celebrates charcoal burner fest

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Trippstadt celebrates its traditional “Kohlenbrennerfest,” charcoal burner fest, Saturday and Sunday.

Each year on the first week in September, members of local clubs and associations demonstrate old craftsmanship to include charcoal burning.

A week prior to the event, local people pile up huge amounts of wood to build a coal kiln. A natural chimney is surrounded by many sticks and covered with turf. The brushwood in the chimney is lit and the kiln starts burning. Charcoal burners then watch the burning, day and night, for up to a week. If the smoke coming out is blue, the burning process is correct. After the burning, the kiln falls down. The big charcoal pieces are chopped up, the others are raked and all is collected and packaged.

During the fest, the whole process will be demonstrated again. One kiln will be built, another will burn, and a third will already be burnt down. Visitors can also buy the charcoal.

In the past, charcoal was needed to smelt iron ore. Due to the abundance of the forest and the waterpower of the Moosalb creek, the first smelting works were established in the Trippstadt area in 1728.

After many trees had been cut down for smelting, a new kind of tree, the fast-growing white pine, had to be planted. It was the perfect tree for charcoal making.

Visitors of the fest can also make a stop at a historical smithy with demonstrations of shoeing horses and making Celtic medals. Silver smiths also create jewelry made of gold, silver and copper.

In Karlstalhalle a creative market with arts and crafts items is set up. Near Wilenstein Grundschule (elementary school), children sell flea market items. Clubs also provide musical entertainment and food specialties.

Trippstadt is an official town area because of its good climate and oxygen-rich air. It is located within a wooded area, on a hill, 400 meters above sea level, 12 kilometers south of Kaiserslautern.