If you look online for pictures from the Laternenfest Bad Homburg, any year, chances are good that they exclude pictures of the parade. This is for good reason: namely, no one really wants to remember it. Bad Homburg has a lot to offer, but strangely, the parade for the Laternenfest is at best shoddy, and year after year has been easily out-performed by other parades around the area. Like the one in the little village out several miles so remote you can’t even find it marked on a Google-map.

I am the type of person who loves – really loves – marching bands. After suffering the parade these past two years I feel I can admit it freely now, unreservedly: I hate the Bad Homburg Laternenfestzug. It’s a disaster. It’s so bad, that if my family or friends were to visit me during the Laternenfest, I would do everything in my power to make sure they would miss the parade, which passes directly under my apartment, which means we’ll probably make that an evening to spend in Frankfurt.

Why It Should Be Missed

The Laternenfest Parade is strange to me, involving bands that often don’t play any music (save perhaps for the drummers), dancers who don’t ever dance, baton twirlers who only twirl and never toss their batons, and parade floats with awful music populated by people who are drunk and sometimes actually dry-humping each other on the float. This is not my idea of a family event.

Parades are supposed to be exciting. They are supposed to make children cheer and adults applaud and maybe laugh or say, “Wow!” We should be able to forget that we are standing in the rain.

What I would wish for is a really great parade, one that is worth standing outside in the cold weather to see, one that boasts the type of creative, educated and well-financed town that Bad Homburg actually is.

Ohio University

The Floats

The floats should be well planned and attractive. They should meet a certain standard of aesthetic and stability and if they don’t meet that standard, they should get kicked-out. I’ve seen many times that there are floats with sections that threaten to fall off. How can that be?

The float participants should never be drunk. The participants should not pretend to be engaging in sexual activities. I’m thinking particularly of the “1001 Nights” 2013 float, which was supposed to follow a theme of “fairytale storybook” like all the other floats in the parade, but instead looked like a Bollywood whorehouse on wheels.

Parade performers should realize that they will be seen by small children and their grandparents, and behave in a manner that would not shame them if it were to be televised. At this point they’re probably safe, because no one is taking pictures anyway.

The Dancers

The dancing troupes involved should actually… um… dance. Embarrassingly, they most often don’t even march. Typically, they just walk along the street, looking like they’d rather just sit down. It’s pointless.

The Bands

There is one band comprised entirely of drummers. They are the only cool thing in the whole parade. If any of the other bands are any good at all, I wouldn’t know because I’ve never heard them play anything. They would seem to have pretty good drummers too, though. Those guys never stop.

Could it be that every single marching band has determined to stop playing music when they hit my street? Unlikely. So I wonder why they are in the parade at all if they aren’t actually doing anything in it except letting the drummer keep pace.

band1The Hope

There are 300 days or so until the next parade. I hope that maybe this time, come August 2014, it will be enough time to plan one worth standing up for and applauding.

We’ll see. We’ll see… unless my parents should come to town. If they do, forget it.

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