Trippstadt celebrates charcoal burners fest, smithy fest

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The charcoal burner fest includes a smithy fest, where blacksmiths demonstrate their skills Saturday and Sunday.

Trippstadt will celebrate its annual “Kohlenbrennerfest,” charcoal burners’ fest, Saturday and Sunday. Besides the traditional burning of charcoal, the fest includes demonstrations of old craftsmanship, displays, children’s activities and live music.

Until the 19th century, charcoal burning was an important branch of trade in the Palatinate Forest. The charcoal was needed for the iron-melting furnace. That’s how people made their living.

In memory of this old craftsmanship, members of local clubs and associations will be in charge of demonstrating the burning of charcoal the first weekend in September. Traditionally, a week prior to the event, they pile up huge amounts of wood to build a coal kiln. A kind of chimney is surrounded by many sticks and covered with turf. The brushwood in the chimney is lit and the kiln starts burning. Then the charcoal burners watch the burning, day and night, for up to a week, keeping the air outside the kiln. 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 get to buy the charcoal in October.

Mayor Manfred Stahl will officially open the event 5 p.m. Saturday near the coal kiln, which will be lit.

The traditional smithy fest with smiths from all over Germany and neighboring countries will demonstrate their skills 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday in the yard of the local smithy called Schmiede Huber. Goldsmiths and silversmiths will display and show their fine and elaborate works.

Festivities with musical entertainment will also take place on Hauptstrasse. Local clubs and restaurants will serve regional food specialties in their yards.

Two special exhibitions, “250 years Trippstadt Palace,” and “French Revolutionary Wars,” will be displayed 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Eisenhuetten-museum (iron works museum).

Saturday and Sunday, visitors of Trippstadt’s charcoal burner fest can watch the lighting and burning of the kiln. — Courtesy photos

Sunday, activities will begin at 11 a.m. with an ecumenical worship service near the kiln.

A children’s program with children’s flea market will be set up on Hauptstrasse. The Pikes Cheerleaders will perform 2 to 2:30 p.m. in the center of town to be followed by a concert with the Musikkapelle Trippstadt.

Trippstadt is an official health resort town 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.

Visitors of Trippstadt’s charcoal burner fest enjoy activities and food specialties in the center of town Saturday and Sunday.