We also attended the local Fasching parade Sunday afternoon with our neighbors and some of their friends. Fasching is essentially the same as Carnival or Mardi Gras. Mainz and Cologne have much bigger Fasching celebrations but we were content to enjoy the smaller, more intimate, Heppenheim version. The parade was not so different than any typical small town parade, complete with marching bands and drill team-esque dancing girls, floats that advertise local businesses and political issues. One float actually had palm trees all over it and someone translated the German verbage for us to say something like, "If we don't save the planet from global warming soon, there will be palm trees in Germany". At that point, I could no longer feel my toes in my sadly un-insulated tennis shoes and palm trees in Germany didn't sound half bad.
Langnese has a distribution center on the outskirts of town and they seemed to be using the parade as an opportunity to unload excess inventory. Along with the little candies that are typically tossed by the passing parade floats were whole icecream bars and, in some cases, whole boxes full of icecream bars. While I was busy pondering whether the people around me were completely insane (because they were opening said icecream bars and eating them in 30 degree weather), one of them pelted me right in the eye from a passing float. I thought I might have a black eye to show for it but it turns out I was just being dramatic.
We enjoyed ourselves, even if we were the only ignorant Texans, horribly inadequately dressed, surrounded by Germans wearing four layers of ski gear (literally).
Oh, I almost forgot - Helau - it is apparently a standard Fasching / Carnival greeting used in Germany that doesn't sound so unlike Hallo - the standard everyday German greeting. Everyone in the parade that wasn't playing an instrument would wave and yell "Helau!" as they passed us by. I couldn't help but think of this Seinfeld and laugh.
There was lots of American music (as always) but none took me back to a high school football game as much as this (yes, they are dressed as nuns and monks)...
Here are a few more of the fun and interesting Fasching sights.