This Saturday was not just the start of school for this year’s crop of first graders, but also the day of the harvest festival, an annual celebration of farming and food that consists of a parade through my semi-rural suburb of Bremen, a service at the local Lutheran church and a big party in the evening and night (held on the football field some 500 meters from my home and therefore rather noisy).
Since the parade passed through my street, I had the chance to take some photos. Photos of the 2011 and 2012 harvest festivals may be found here, by the way. I must have missed the 2013 festival for some reason.
This year’s harvest parade seemed a little shorter and had fewer floats than those in previous years with longterm stalwarts such as the choir Liederkreis Harmonie, the homeowners’ association Siedlervereinigung Hördener Heideweg and the local chapter of the Kyffhäuserbund (originally a war veterans’ organisation, now a social club for the rural elderly) missing. I suspect that the Kyffhäuser and Liederkreis Harmonie simply died out, given the advanced age of their membership. Come to think of it, the same might apply to Siedlervereinigung Hördener Heideweg, since the original homeowners of Hördener Heideweg must be in their 70s by now.
Nonetheless, I’m glad that we still have a harvest festival parade, since a lot of these small festivals have died out in recent years.
Now let’s have some photos:
As every year, the parade is headed by a fire truck of the local volunteer fire brigade.
Directly after the fire truck came this festively decorated horse-drawn carriage. The horse seemed rather impatient with the speed of the parade and constantly kept pushing against the back of the fire truck, as if trying to make it go faster.
Young members of the local riding club join the parade.
The float bearing the harvest crown is the traditional centerpiece of the parade. Local clubs and organisations take turns making the harvest crown and organising the festival. This year, the women’s gymnastics team made the crown. After the festival, the harvest crown is displayed in the local church.
The float of this girls’ basketball team is decorated with corn cobs.
“Hest em bi di?” (“Have you got it with you?” in Low German) is a bowling club with a twist: All members carry around a small plastic pig. If two members happen to meet on the street, one will ask the other, “Have you got it with you?”, whereupon the other member must produce the plastic pig or pay a fine. The pig also figures prominently in the decoration of the club’s float which celebrates Germany’s World Cup win.
Plush pigs decorate the rear of the “Hest em bi di?” float.
Two gentlemen of the local volunteer fire brigade ride this vintage fire pump.
The volunteer fire brigade’s main float is decorated with a fire hose and flashing blue lights.
The Bavarian themed float of the Landjugend (Country youth) delighted the entire parade with techno music in the mistaken assumption they were attending the Love Parade. I also think they were having a barbecue on their float.
This beautifully decorated float belongs to “Alle Neune” (All nine), another bowling team. Note the tiny gilded bowling pins dangling from the arches.
This rather basic float belongs to a men’s football team.
The float of this club for players of the card game Skat is decorated with garlands of playing cards.
I have no idea which club this is, but their float sure is pretty.
A very big tractor is pulling the float of a boys football team.
A group of pirates decided to join this year’s harvest festival parade.
Three pirates decide to use a lull in the parade to relieve their bladders onto an empty lot.
Giant sunflowers decorate the float of this girls’ handball team.
A second fire engine brings up the rear.
After the parade has passed, these two little boys have settled down in a quiet spot behind a tree trunk to inspect their loot, candy thrown from the parade floats to the spectators.