ANSBACH, Germany (Feb. 3, 2017) – “Was ist los in Franken?” details off-post community events and activities occurring throughout Middle, Lower and Upper Franconia.
Kinderfasching in Rothenburg
A Fasching parade and party for kids takes place in Rothenburg Feb. 4. The parade starts at 1:30 p.m. Luitpoldschule and moves to the Marktplatz for a welcome by city officials; afterwards the party commences at 2 p.m. at the Reichsstadthalle (Spitalhof 8). Learn more at Fasching Rothenburg.
Toon Walk in Nürnberg
Larger than life comic personas like Bugs Bunny or Homer Simpson are parading through downtown Nürnberg on Feb. 4, celebrating the International Toy Fair that is taking place simultaneously at the Messezentrum Nürnberg. The Toon Walk starts at Pfannenschmiedsgasse (near Lorenzkirche) at 11 a.m. with a show program, games, face painting and more going on all day until 5 p.m. To learn more, go to Toon Walk.
Kinderfasching in Stein
The “Steiner Schlossgeister” (Stein castle ghosts) are hosting a Fasching party for kids at the TSV-Halle Stein (Mühlstraße) Feb. 5, at 2:33 p.m. (doors open one hour prior); to learn more, visit Steiner Schlossgeister
Kinder Fasching in Nürnberg
A Fasching party for children – hosted by one of the local carnival associations, the “Crazy Dancers” – is taking place Feb. 5 at the Genossenschaftssaalbau Bauernfeind (Matthäus-Herrmann-Platz 2). Start of event is 2:30 p.m. (doors open at 1:30 p.m.); tickets for 3 euros are available through the club at Kinderfasching.
Open House at the Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Ansbach
The mini zoo for rescued tigers and other exotic animals in Ansbach-Wallersdorf is hosting their monthly open house on Friday, Feb. 5 from 1 to 5 p.m. Guided tours take place every full hour. Visitors will be well taken care of with beverages and food. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome. To learn more, visit Shelter.
Horse Market in Creglingen
The “Creglinger Pferdemarkt” is a traditional horse market hosted once a year. More than 150 horses participate in the parade Feb. 8 (1 p.m.); a peddlers’ market and a small animal show take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and a concert is scheduled for 2 p.m. downtown Creglingen. To learn more, visit Pferdemarkt.
Kinderfasching in Schwabach
A Kinder Fasching party takes place at Markgrafensaal Schwabach (Ludwigstr. 16) Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. The event organizers, the “Schwabanesen,” promise fun, dancing and games; admission is 5 euros. To learn more, visit Schwabanesen.
Franconian Jazz Band in Nürnberg
The Franconian Jazzband plays Dixieland, Swing and New Orleans Jazz at the Jazz Studio Nürnberg Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. An early arrival of at least 30 minutes is recommended as seats are not numbered. For more details and ticket information, visit Jazzstudio.
Fasching, Fastnacht & Karneval
The Fasching season, also known as the “fifth season” in Germany, has a long tradition in Europe; it originates in the preparation for the six-week fasting time during lent, which ends on Easter. Fasching, Fastnacht, or Karneval is a time when Germans loosen up a little, dress up in funny costumes and party. Karneval is especially popular in the Rhine region; cities like Cologne, Mainz or Düsseldorf more or less shut down to party during the high season. The date of the long Fasching weekend varies, depending on the church calendar; while the official start of the season is always on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 a.m., the revelers stay mostly dormant during the Advent and Christmas season until the actual high Fasenacht season in the following spring. In the time between New Year’s and the high Fasching season many towns and villages host balls, parties and parades. Party goers typically dress up as a character, similar to Halloween. German police are cruising the streets more frequently at night to catch those who drink and drive.
For children, many communities host parties called “Kinderfasching,” usually taking place in a community center or gym. These events involve dress-up for the kids, a lot of loud music and dancing, games, face painting and food. They are quite popular with the kids, while the parents go along as chaperones (ear plugs recommended!).
The high season starts with Altweiberfasnacht, or crazy Thursday (Feb. 23), when traditionally in many towns the women take over the city’s courthouse and cut off the tie of any man who dares to wear one. After attending parties all weekend long, people flock to the large cities like Cologne or Mainz to watch the Rosenmontag (“Rose Monday”) parades (Feb. 27), or stay local and enjoy smaller parades, often with folklore background.
Faschingsdienstag (Feb. 28) – Shrove Tuesday – offers one last chance to party hard and then “bury” the carnival at midnight until following year. Aschermittwoch (Ash Wednesday) marks the beginning of Fastenzeit (“fasting time“- lent); the weeks before Easter are often used as a time for reflection and renunciation of certain personal vices (like smoking, alcohol or candy).