Wendelinus market features vendors, displays, music, model train swap meet, Sunday shopping

Petra Lessoing
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Ramstein-Miesenbach celebrates its traditional Wendelinus market Saturday and Sunday. In the center of town, which is closed to motorized traffic, there are special activities, vendors, craftsmanship demonstrations, a car show, rides and musical entertainment. Additionally, a train swap meet takes place in the Haus des Bürgers and stores are open from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Mayor Klaus Layes officially opens the market at 2 p.m. Saturday by tapping the first keg of beer on Marktplatz. The band Seewoog-hechte provides musical entertainment.

“A highlight of this year’s Wendelinusmarkt will be our live music bands,” said Joe Felka, market director. In the evening, the bands Elliot and Nuisance will perform rock music. “Visitors will most likely enjoy being able to shop in our stores until 8 p.m. and to stroll across the market until 11 p.m.,” Mr. Felka added.

More than 100 vendors present their merchandise. Landstuhler Strasse turns into a medieval market. There are presentations of former craftsmanship such as basket makers and blacksmiths. Visitors can taste mead out of original clay mugs and knights’ meals. They can also try out their skills in archery and children have the chance to take a ride on a hand-driven medieval merry-go-round.

***image2***On Prometheusplatz, a car show is set up and local shops and businesses display their merchandise and skills. Also available here is a bungee trampoline and rides.

The Reservist Comradeship Ramstein-Landstuhl celebrates its 40th birthday in a tent on the grounds of the Kassel company. They offer live music Sunday afternoon to include the U.S. Air Forces in Europe band Wings of Dixie from 3 to 6 p.m. Military equipment and uniforms are on display and for sale.

Next to the Pletsch shoe store, the Kolping family sells homemade cakes and other food specialties. Profits will go to children with cancer at the Homburg University Clinic.
Sunday, the market opens at 11 a.m. The Ramstein Street Musicians perform on stage.

One part of the event is the Ramstein model train swap meet, which is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Haus des Bürgers. Vendors from Germany and neighboring countries display trains, accessories, tin toys, dolls and kinder eggs.

“This is our 25th anniversary swap meet,” said Manfred Küster, organizer of the event. “More than 50 vendors display and offer locomotives, carriages, tracks, signals, houses, lamps and bridges,” he added.

The Mini-Truck Friends Saarland show trucks of all kinds, construction and agricultural vehicles and hand-created miniature models.

Rolf Dindorf presents his miniature carnival and the Model Car Club Mannheim sets up a miniature race track, where children can get involved in races.

“The origin of Wendelinusmarkt dates back to the 18th century when it used to be a church fest celebrated in honor of the church patron Saint Wendelinus,” said Stefan Layes from the city of Ramstein-Miesenbach. In the beginning of the 18th century, when most village residents were farmers, an epidemic threatened Ramstein’s cattle. People started praying to Saint Wendelinus, the saint of plague, who was asked for help in case of contagious diseases.

“Our citizens promised to celebrate the day of Saint Wendelinus each year if the epidemic would end,” added Layes.

The first celebration was on a Monday in 1710. People didn’t want to work that day and schools were closed. Relatives living outside of Ramstein came to visit, went to confession and listened to the fest sermon conducted by several priests from three altars, without interruption.

Afterwards, people stopped at the chestnut carnival in front of the church, where rosaries, crucifixes, prayer books, candles and chestnuts were sold. Years ago, the 12-hour prayer was moved to Sunday, and the local Catholic holiday lost its importance.