September 19 is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so if you’re looking for piratical reads, check out the Arr, Matey Pirate Bundle at DriveThruFiction.
In my corner of North Germany, September 19 was also the annual harvest festival which is commemorated with a parade, a big party with lots of drinking and loud music and a church service on Sunday morning. I’ve posted photos of previous harvest festival parades here. This year, the harvest festival was also advertised by these very cute Straw-Minions.
The parade passed through my street again this year, so I took some photos of the decorated floats made by various local sports teams, social clubs and other organisations:
The harvest festival parade always begins and ends with a truck from the local volunteer fire brigade.
The float bearing the so-called harvest crown is always the first float after the fire truck. The harvest crown is made by whatever organisation or club organised the harvest festival this year (they take turns). This year, it was the volunteer fire brigade’s turn, so the harvest crown is escorted by firefighters. After the parade, the crown is placed in the local church.
The local women’s and girls’ gymnastics club is always known for its fanciful costumes. This year, they dressed as witches.
More witchy gymnastics ladies.
The float of the allotment garden association of Tölkenbrück is decorated with some of the fruit and vegetable produced in the allotment gardens.
This Wild West themed float belongs to the local country youth organisation. Smoke was wafting from the float at a quite alarming rate. I suspect they had a dry ice machine – either that or a particularly smokey barbecue.
This small wagon belongs to the club “Seckenhauser Urgesteine” and is decorated with straw.
This float was decorated by the local sport shooting club. I was surprised by the number of teen boys on board, since target shooting is mostly considered a sport for older people.
This float is a true rarity, since it carries some of the last surviving members of the Kyffhäuserbund in the wild. Most of them are neighbours of mine, which is why they’re waving.
The Kyffhäuserbund got its start in the early 20th century as a veterans’ organisation. Nowadays, it’s mostly a target shooting organisation and social club for the rural (or in our case, semi-rural) elderly. Its membership numbers are rapidly dropping due to old age (several of the people on that float are over eighty, one lady is almost ninety and one couple will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary next month), hence the joke about those being the last surviving members in the wild.
The “Hallenhuser Jungs un Deerns” (Low German for “boys and girls of Hallenhausen”, a youth club) are having a swinging party on their float.
The theme of this float is “Beware of the harvest thieves”.
Many of the floats have a staircase in the rear, so people can get on and off. Also note the decorated “Kettcar” go-kart and the boy asking for candy. The occupants of the floats traditionally throw candy at the spectators, which the local kids eagerly collect.
The theme of this beautiful float is “Harvest wedding”. The bride (at the back of the float) is actually a guy with a wig in a white dress.
This girls’ football team would like to make it clear that they’re not doing ballet. I really like the subtle jab at traditional gender roles in sports here.
More football, this time a cheery and rather drunk boys’ team.
Football float the third: This one belongs to the men’s senior team.
The coach of the local men’s football team actually lives across the road and was watching the parade with his family. Afterwards, I said to him, “I really hope your team doesn’t have a match this weekend, because I fear they’ll be too drunk to find the goal.”
A very big tractor
Another local oddity, the bowling club “Hest Em Bi Di?” (Have you got it with you?)
“Hest Em Bi Di?” is a bowling club with a twist. The members all carry a little plastic pig with them at all times. If two members meet on the street, at the bakery, etc…, one will ask the other “Have you got it with you?”, whereupon the other member must produce the little plastic pig. If the other member does not have the little plastic pig, he or she must pay a fine, which is used to finance parties, prizes, etc…
The rear of the “Hest Em Bi Di?” float is decorated with their mascot, a pig, as well as a teddy bear in a Werder Bremen jersey.
I’m glad that we still have a harvest festival parade, since so many smaller events of this kind died out in recent years. Though it’s also notable that some long-time harvest festival parade staples are missing such as the Hördener Heideweg home owner’s association, which was always known for its beautiful floats, the Liederkreis Harmonie (singing circle Harmony), the horse riding club or the Klosterbläser Heiligenrode (Heiligenrode abbey blowers brass band). Liederkreis Harmonie and Hördener Heideweg home owner’s association are probably absent due to the advanced age of their members. No idea what happened to the abbey players or the horse riders.