Fasching: Enjoy the season but keep safety in mind

By Roland Geib
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Safety Office

The German Fasching season is in full swing. That means a lot of fun when you attend those famous meetings and assemblies of the German Fasching clubs and not to forget the balls, where you can dance the night away.

The Fasching season will reach its peak on the “Crazy Days:” Saturday, Sunday, Rose Monday and Fasching Tuesday. It starts on Saturday in Wiesbaden and Mainz with the children’s parade which has a more family style atmosphere. But the real event is the parade on Rose Monday in Mainz which is often more than six kilometers long.

You should take advantage of the opportunity of being here in this area and attend some of the Fasching events. In the Mainz area Fasching is at least as important as Christmas and the Fasching Parade on Rose Monday is one of the most famous in all of Germany. An average of 500,000 people will watch this parade making its way through the inner city of Mainz on March 7. Other cities including Baumholder, Frankfurt and Wiesbaden also hold a variety of Fasching parades and activities.

But even with all the fun, don’t forget there are several hazards of which you should be aware. First, if you are standing in the street to watch the parade, there is a lot of pushing and shoving since the parade participants standing on those large decorated trailers are throwing sweets, prezels and plastic toys into the crowd and everybody wants to grab these items. If you are standing too close to the curb, you might get pushed into the way of the trailer and be run over. This is especially true for younger parade goers who risk getting trampled by horses or parade floats if venturing too far into the path of the parade.

On several occasions there have been accidents with fatal results. Sometimes one of the horses participating in the parade gets excited by all the shouting, noise and loud music. Several years ago several people were seriously injured by a horse that got out of control.

Always watch where the above mentioned items are thrown so that you don’t get hit by surprise. Those little sweets can damage your eye when they hit.
Alcohol is the biggest danger you will encounter. You will see a lot of people carrying a bottle of wine or beer and some of them might even offer you a sip. But always remember the limit if you want to keep your driver’s license.

If you really plan a visit to Mainz on Rose Monday, it’s better to take the bus or train. With many of the streets blocked for the parade, very little parking will be available. The buses run more frequently on Fasching.

If planning on drinking alcohol, definitely leave the car at home. No one wants to end the Fasching season by losing driving privileges or worse after being apprehended by the German Police. The city and Autobahn Police will increase their traffic checks during the period March 5-10.

Published March 3, 2011