I remember mentioning in an earlier post that festivals were bountiful and so I have saved a few for a summer festival wrap-up post. Over the past two months our village hosted the Schubkarren-Rennen (wheel barrel races), a fireman’s celebration weekend, and a German-Chinese Cultural day. We also went to a Native American powwow at a nearby lake.
Yes, you read that right. A Native American powwow in Germany and it was super awkward. We saw very few people who looked Native, and saw plenty of German speaking people painted like Indians, wearing loincloths, animal skins, and feathers. And I am serious. Some of the guys were lucky it wasn’t windy that day. It was really uncomfortable… and only got worse when we saw the Civil War confederate camp set up. Yup. You read right again. Germans dressed as confederate soldiers flying the confederate flag. To top it off there wasn’t even any fry bread :(. Thankfully it was only 10 minutes from home so when the clouds rolled in we skipped home.
We did manage to find another American family and shared lunch. They also thought it was incredibly awkward but also told us that apparently there is a tent community outside of Kaiserslautern where Germans live like Natives year round. I haven’t yet seen this, the powwow was enough for me. I’m not sure exactly what we expected it would be like, but we were intrigued to see what it was since it was so close to home.
In contrast, all the events in our village were super fun! First up were the races, and it was hot, hot, hot that day. Brock and I walked down in the morning for the children’s races and were so exhausted from the heat we went home and took a long nap. But the kids were so cute. The first set was my friend’s 2 year old son and a little girl. Neither of them had the focus to push the cart themselves so their moms held them and pushed the tiny, child sized cart down the road. It was adorable. I am so glad we got to see these unique races.
The wheel barrel race committee has a really great website where I could learn the history of the races and the rules. The races started in 1935 and in 1953 made the bold move to include a female race category, shocking, I know 😉 . But equal they were not! The women did not race with wheel barrels, they raced with baby carriages—because they were more familiar with that vehicle XD . Not only does the committee have a great website, but they also have wonderful uniforms:
Next for our village was the weekend celebrating our firemen. My friend’s husband is the Chief in our town so I made sure to go to the party with her. Fil was working overnight, so Brock and I walked down to the firehouse for the dinner party. Once again, very inexpensive and delicious beers and brats were on the menu for the evening. Brock and Landon ran around the firehouse and had a blast. I was really impressed by the fire department. For a town with about 3,000 residents (according to Wikipedia) we have an impressive volunteer department of over 50 with an additional 26 youth also involved. I also learned through conversation that for many of the firemen it is a family tradition to volunteer generation after generation.
Finally, this weekend we went to the Chinese cultural festival, again hosted in our wonderful village. Former US military barracks were purchased and remodeled into apartments and office space for Chinese looking to bring their businesses to Germany. This weekend they hosted a cultural event with performers, food, and festivities for all. Children danced, men and women sang, and a man played a really interesting string instrument that mesmerized Fil and I. While we were eating a local dance troupe performed Mulan—or an adaptation of Mulan I should say. The Genie from Aladdin was a character and they were speaking German so I’m not really sure what was happening there. We weren’t too worried about it, we were having too much fun watching Brock devour his noodles.
This last event was especially nice because for the first time I felt like we were part of this community. Not only was my friend there, but all four of our neighbors came up and said hello to us— and one told us that next weekend is the Oktoberfest in town 🍺. I guess they like us… or maybe Brock is just too cute for them too 😉 .
P.S my neighbor directly across the street and I share our maiden names. I asked her, and apparently it is a pretty common last name in Germany but who knows, maybe family is closer than we thought.