Feb 042012
 

Today we braved the cold and wandered downtown to check out the Narrentag.  That means “Fool’s Day”, and is the first of several events we intent to attend during Fastnacht.  It WAS cold, though a bit warmer than some days this week.  Even Tom, my local Physical Therapist said he thought he would skip the event this year because it was just too cold.  As we left, this is what the thermometer said:

That is a negative 4 degrees Celsius,
or about 25 degrees Fahrenheit
This residue is from the ice and
salt that has been on the streets
I left these in the car overnight!

Foolishness

At first, it was just sort of a jumbled, boggling mass of humanity.  There were stands selling basic street food and folks dressed in a variety of costumes. At one end of Mainstreet, some sort of weird obstacle course was being run by various teams of costumed revelers.  It was judged, I think, by cheers directed at a doll that was being raised and lowered to indicate score.  The whole thing was loud, indecipherable and crowded.  But, oddly, DD who is usually opposed to such things, was getting a kick out of all the costumes and weird images.

Fuzzy people on a platform

The balcony is on City Hall… I think the Mayor may be there

The guy with the cart is doing the obstacle course,
but I couldn’t see through the crowd or follow along.

Someone would raise and lower the little doll and people would Cheer
Some of the many costumes around
Vendor selling fool pins
Native American themed costumes, animals and pirates were all the vogue for
folks opting not to don more traditional wear.  The lady to the left has an
idealized Indian Princess image on the back of her sort-of-faux-apache garb.

This was all very confusing!
Not speaking enough German to make out what any of this meant, we almost wandered off.  After 1/2 hour of pushing through crowds and freezing our tushies off, we had had about enough.  But, first we went into a local shop to defrost and pick up a few things we needed- and perhaps a few things we didn’t need….

We decided to go ahead and get this opalescent cowboy hat for DD-
I told her I was pretty sure it was part of the “ostentatious American” costume

But, Wait!
As we came out, we realized that people were starting to gather along what appeared to be a parade route!  Sure enough, shortly after 1 (I will guess 1:11, since all such things seem to start at 11 after the hour this season), LOUD explosions began to erupt from down the block.  Soon, we could make out Band Music and Heralding Drums and Trumpets.  We lucked into a great spot at the turn in the road, and settled in to watch the event….

He would shout out something that sounded like “NARREE”
and folks would answer something like NAROOH! But, I have
no idea what any of it meant, other than that “Narren” means fool.
This gentleman was next.  And note the lantern!  I wonder if he is from Bühl!
I am guessing these first guys may be guild masters of sorts, or perhaps local political leaders.
The third guild-masterly guy, I am going to guess Band Master-

Since he was closely followed by the first of several drum and bugle corps to kick things off!
They played mostly a trilling fanfare.
The first group of Fools!
A really LARGE noisemaker!

Great masks

Carrying a more modest noisemaker
The ladies with the face masks were really creepy-
and the gentlemen behind them were LOUD-
they are the ones who fired off muskets to start things off!

Another band, I noted that most of the groups had folks of all ages

Local groups came next, this one had slides that they let people along the parade
route go down into a bucket of packing peanuts, and a booth that blew fake snow onto you!

 Many of the smaller groups seemed to be elementary or even preschools, others were community groups, or, perhaps just friends and neighbors.  Most carried small hard candies that they would give to kids in the audience.

Bath Toys

Beach Hunks

Devils- these folks were fun

They would go around bopping kids in the crowd

Definitely one of the more creative entries-

They were an art gallery!
These were the Offenburg Crows

Cute Crow Family

Even the youngest kids got in the act- and they brought “nests” in case they got tired!

My favorite group of the parade-
Claire, I expect to see you dressed like this at some point!

These guys seriously were rocking out.  We had started to leave,
but when we heard them come around the corner, we decided to wait- good choice!
LOVE the effect, but how they managed to play through the masks and still sound good is beyond me!

By that point, we could no longer feel most of our extremities, so we decided to ditch out.  But, definitely a fun event!

Remembered to get a picture of myself when we got home- I got a Gandalf hat for me :)

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