This is what we yell back & forth at the Großer Fasnetsumzug (big Mardi Gras parade) every Sunday before Ash Wednesday. In Dutch a jester is a Nar, in German a Narren… so I’m pretty sure we are all yelling “Jester!” at each other.

While there is some bawdiness in the German parade, it’s nowhere near as bawdy as the New Orleans one. Instead it is more jester-centric & jokes are the headliner. By now I’m a seasoned parade goer. I know not to wear shoes with shoelaces:

Some poor sap lost his laces… not me!

I know not to wear a hat:

They even steal hats from little people!

Getting rolled is my biggest fear!

I haven’t found a solution to hair. This year I wore a ponytail.. and my hairbobber was yanked out & stolen! I haven’t found a solution to shoe polish… this year I wore a black sweatshirt & got smeared with green shoe polish. I haven’t found a solution to being floured (with flour!); confetti’d; straw’d or squirted. Though. I not only got squirted by water but also with alcohol. Right in my wide-open mouth. I’m okay with that.

Besides getting squirted with alcohol, I was also gifted with a hot cup of glühwein (mulled wine), several small bottles of shots and a lei. I got lei’d! In Germany! The kids were tossed enough candy to fill up a baggie full. I’ve already made Dane a dentist appointment next week. He’s in a cavity phase.

There’s yelling. Screaming. Dancing. Singing. A Fasnet parade is an interactive parade and this year was the most fun I had! To think I almost didn’t go. I was worried about my foot. About standing for 2+ hours. And it was difficult to hobble the cobblestone streets to our “spot”. But then I plopped right down on the street, on the other side of the barricade and got some of the best photo’s of my parade-going career!

I didn’t have as good a time as Tess. Tess got picked up by the Shopping Queens to get a “makeover”. A makeover that include a brandnew sweater! From H&M!

Tess & her sweater… compliments of the Shopping Queens!

For the past two days I’ve been sifting through my 1200+ photo’s. Here’s just a small taste of how incredible a Fasnetsumzug is:

Trees are important

Witching is a family affair

Each mask is handcrafted by the village mask maker. Usually passed down from father to son.

I have at least 10 photo’s of this camera hog striking a pose

Some of the floats are protests or social commentary. These two are anti-diesel.

I need this hat.

Those beige dangly things? Pig bladders. I hate, hate, HATE being hit by pig bladders.

Nothing says “peace” like a toking bunny!

The craftmanship in the costumes carries all the way down to the shoes.

The Merkelingen lions are my favorite group

Shopping Queens!!!!

I’m actually more than a little frightened that he’ll jump out & get me!

Sometimes the crowd bests the narren!

Did I mention the live fire they pull in the parade? No? They do. I could feel the heat as it passed.

They aren’t all scary.

It is very, very loud. Some of the kids wear noise-canceling headphones. Not all kids will keep those on.

How you doing? A lot got down on my level!