Hello fellow blog readers and welcome to another day in the life of me, your favorite 16 year old. So last night I went to a big annual celebration in Neuss, Germany called Schützenfest. The Schützenfest in Neuss is apparently the biggest in Germany which I thought was super cool.
At the festival there was a long strip of fair food, rides, and games that the exchange students and I spent awhile walking around in. The streets were crazy packed and it would've been easy to get lost.
Now for a little background on what Schützenfest actually is. The main festivity and reason for the honorary day is a shooting game for men. They line up and take turns shooting at a wooden bird nailed to a post. The man who knocks the bird from the post wins and becomes Schützenkönig (Schützen King) for the next year. If you become Schützenkönig you get medals and a parade dedicated to you. You also must arrange the Schützenfest for the next year which apparently costs around $100,000. High price to be a king.
After walking through the crazy streets for awhile we found some people from our rotary club who had set up some benches and sat down to watch the parade. The parade was of all the men participating in Schützenfest. They were dressed in matching green suits specifically for Schützenfest. Each group of men that passed in the parade had different things decorating their jackets to differentiate them from the group before. You have to find some way to stand apart when you're all wearing the same green getup. I saw one group wearing pool floaties, another decked out in glow sticks, one guy randomly carrying a wooden chair on his shoulder, and others with jackets just covered in pins and Schützenfest medals from past years. The parade also had a lot of bands which were fun. During one of the songs the group behind the band began singing the lyrics that apparently went along with the song and the only word I understood was alcohol repeated over and over again. Very German I would say.
Speaking of alcohol the ground was covered in it. Almost every group in the parade that passed had a box filled with tiny liquor bottles and were handing them out to their group and the crowd. I saw one guy with beer taps attached to his back and another with an apron over his Schützenfest jacket completely covered in small flavored liquor bottles. Every time the parade stopped the men would twist off the tops, tip the bottles back, then toss them on the ground. I guess you could say German holidays are the special occasion to get really drunk in public. I didn't partake in the drinking but everyone looked like they were having fun and no one got hurt. That's something different from the U.S. People always seem to be getting hurt when they drink irresponsibly in the states. Here it happens but it's always controlled. It's all fun.