Monday, March 24, 2014

A Visit to the Kuseler Handels & Handwerksmesse

On Sunday I was in the Kusel area so I decided to stop by the Kuseler Handels & Handwerksmesse. What is such an event? Well, it's a trade show and craft show held in downtown Kusel. It reminds me of a small version of the Maimarkt held in Mannheim, which I attended last year but haven't even gotten around to writing about yet (oops!).

It was a nice little diversion. The trade fair was hosted in three tents and featured booths by local businesses and organizations. One tent was filled with happy attendees listening to music, drinking beer, and eating sausages.

In the other tents I saw heating and cooling companies, window companies, banks, and even the tourist bureau for the Pfalz (the region in which Kaiserslautern and Kusel are located). The latter was my favorite booth because of all the free flyers and maps of things to do in the region. I grabbed some information about biking, camping, and hiking in the area.

Even better yet than the flyers? There was a "Draisine" in the booth:

What is this glorious contraption? Well, apparently its German name is the same as the English term and it's similar to a handcar which is driven by human propulsion on rail tracks. This particular drisine is pedal-powered. Even better yet? These can be rented for sightseeing in the region! There are even electric powered ones and party-bus (party-drisine?) ones available for rent. Rentals start at 36 euros and more information is here.  And, despite what it sounds like, none of that was an ad or sponsored in any way. I just thought I'd share the info since it seems really cool! I might give it a try, myself; I envision some friends and lots of wine for an adventure with such a contraption.

After seeing the drisine, I wandered outside and came across people "hanging out" in harnesses on a utility vehicle. It was a local tree trimming service, allowing attendees to see what it was like to be suspended from the lift.

In the "handwerk" portion of the event, crafters sold their wares in the courtyard. There were many sewn items, including a lot of owl-related merchandise. I guess owl prints are "owl" the rage right now? Har har.

As I was walking around, I could smell what reminded me of burning hair. I was wondering what on earth it could be. As I turned the corner, I found out: a farrier demonstrating shaping horse shoes for a patiently waiting horse. I felt a bit silly that I didn't recognize the smell as I had been an avid equestrienne. However, in all fairness, I stopped shoeing my own horses more than a decade ago as I have found many benefits in doing so.

To clarify about the smell: it results from the process of hot shoeing. In hot shoeing, the farrier works the shoes over a forge, heating them up. As he works on them, he presses them to the horse's just-trimmed hoof to check the fit and make adjustments as necessary. Since the shoe is hot, it burns the hoof a little bit and the smell results. There is no worry about the hot shoe touching the outside wall of the horse's hoof; it's not painful as this area is similar to the part of a human's nail that is above the nailbed. The other type of shoeing is cold shoeing, in which the farrier doesn't heat up the shoes to fit them to the horse.

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