Thursday, October 31, 2013

October Carnival in Kaiserslautern our backyard.
The Messeplatz Fairgrounds (directly behind our apartment) turned into a big amusement park the last 2 weeks for it’s annual “Oktoberkerwe” which means October carnival.

The history of carnivals in Kaiserslautern dates back to March 1571 when Emperor Maximilian II granted the town of Kaiserslautern the right to hold two cattle markets each year. Travelers started to come to town for the traditional carnival, which started to develop- now held in May and October.

Since World War II, the carnival has had the reputation of being the biggest folks fest in the Westpfalz. Today it brings 250,000 visitors.

With dozens of rides, games, food and drink stands (140 to be exact), this place is a good time. And remember how it’s right behind our house?

We’ve been there 5 times.

Night one (opening night)
I tried Frikadelle for the first time. It’s a flat, pan-fried dumpling of minced meat. It’s basically a flattened meatball on a bun. It was effing delicious. I also drank glüwein, and if you don’t remember that’s just hot, spiced amazing wine. We weaved in and out of crowds and waited for the opening fireworks.  They never came. I later found out, it was because this happened.

Night Two
We went with Dan’s friend, Mark from work. Along with his wife and two kids. It was really neat to see them freak out over all the games and rides. We went on the Ferris Wheel with them. This is the biggest Ferris Wheel I have ever seen, you would probably say the same thing. 165 feet!


Night Three
I came here right as it was closing one night with my new friend, Yvonne. She is German and has always had fond memories at the “fun fair” she kept calling it. We casually strolled around the empty park picking up a few goodies. I tried a mini-Dickmann (they have several names). It is a marshmallow with a small gram cracker on the bottom and then covered in chocolate. They have many many different flavors. I tried chocolate- it was delicious. Then I bought Dan a pint of “American Ice Cream”. I asked the vendor what was so American about it, and he said, “Don’t all Americans love ice cream?” And while I do love me some ice cream, I’m not aware of the national statistic of ice cream lovers in American.

Night Four
After a lazy Saturday, we decided to walk a few blocks to the carnival. We went on three different rides while we were there. I love the name of carnival rides. They mean absolutely nothing. We went on “The King”, “Flipper”, and “Magic”. They were amazing and I felt like a little kid again- it was great! The King, as you can see below is one of those rides that flips you upside-down. My headband didn’t stand a chance. Luckily, I found it when we got off!

Night Five (closing night)
So, technically we didn’t go to the fair closing night. I just stuck my head out the window to look at the closing fireworks.

Man, those Germans know how to party, see you in May carnival. 


  1. May I correct a bit, Kerwe is not carnival. Carnival comes from "not eating meat", and is the time before lent. In contrast, Kerwe comes from "Kirchweih" and is the anniversary of the church, held at the patrons day of the church.

    1. Through my research I've found the meaning of Kerwe to mean fair or festival. So, while you're right it doesn't mean carnival, it makes sense in the context of my story.


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