Luckily enough for me, I was able to attend one in person since the Sembacher Kerwe happened this past weekend. My friend accompanied me and we rode our bikes. Reading the Germany Ja! article is almost a necessary; the Kerwe would not have really made much sense without the background information. I mean, we would have had a good time regardless, but the giant fluffy pole and the guy reading rhyming verse from a notebook made more sense thanks to the article. Go on; go read the article, and then come back to our adventures here and it'll all make more sense :)
On our bikes, we huffed and puffed and moaned and groaned all the way to Sembach, up and down hills. Okay, I have to be honest: I was the only one huffing and puffing. My friend made the ride look easy. That makes me realize I need to train more, for sure! This weekend warrior thing just isn't cutting it for me.
The Sembach Kerwe was small but a good time. When we got there, a band was playing in the community center so we ducked in for a drink and to listen. Not too many people were around, but later it seemed that the whole town came out!
We also saw the Kerwestrauß, or the Kerwe bouquet, accompanied by two bored teenagers who were probably the "king and queen" of the Kerwe or something along those lines.
A brass band came along and following that a group of ladies dressed up like bowling pins walked by. I would love to know the story behind that!
My favorite were women who were dressed like cooks. They were giving out kitchen sponges, and boy did I ever covet one. I mean, who gets a kitchen sponge at a parade? That's so much more useful than candy is. It didn't work on the first walk through but as the parade looped back to the community center, I stepped into the path of one of the ladies who was handing them out and said "bitte" (please). Success! Well, it was mostly a success; it wasn't a sponge, but a pan scrubber.
I also noticed that in their little wagon full of kitchen utensil props, their pot didn't just have kitchen stuff in it; they also placed many bottles of wine in there! I saw some of them drinking wine as they went. Too funny!
My second favorite (well, maybe tied for first place) was a tractor-pulled wagon decorated with tree branches (? not sure why) and filled with older gentlemen who first started handing out shots of liquor (and sampling some for themselves) and then later started playing horns.
I've been to several parades now and it seems that drinking by the participants is rather common. However, it's still a very family-friendly event. I think this is the first parade where I've seen parade marchers giving adults in the crowd liquor, though!
We followed the parade procession back to the community hall, which filled with the festival goers. Local ladies were selling cake so we each bought a piece and listened to a guy read rhyming verses from a notebook, accompanied by music. This must be the part where he talks about things that happened in town over the year. I really didn't catch much of it at all, nor did my friend, so after enjoying our cake, we departed. It was a fun trip and a great way to see a town-wide party that is very local and special.