GA English on Sunday News in Brief for the Weekend

Bonn and the Region · There were glitches at Rhein in Flammen, with both the drone show and the music not doing what they should have been doing; a Ford Focus and a Renault Modus burned out on supermarket car park in Hennef; and the if you want to see what’s happening with the old Sealife building, today’s your chance. Our news in brief for Sunday.

Rhein in Flammen 2024 in Bonn: Bilder von Festival und Feuerwerk
98 Bilder

Bilder von Rhein in Flammen in der Bonner Rheinaue

98 Bilder
Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Things don’t go according to plan at Rhein in Flammen

The big fireworks display is the flagship of Rhein in Flammen. This year, the new team of organisers led by Yannick Fugenzi from Bonn had added a drone performance. But when the show was due to start at 11.05 pm sharp, nothing happened. Even Radio Bonn/Rhein-Sieg presenter Frank Wallitzek was momentarily speechless.

Lord Mayor Katja Dörner was standing on the main stage, with crowds of people in front of her. Since 10 p.m., more and more spectators had come to the Rheinaue despite the rain. "Three, two, one", she and the presenter counted down. The crowd cheered. But instead of the 300 or so drones taking to the skies, it remained dark. The launch was postponed, and then postponed again. According to spectators, there was no music and there were no announcements on the extensive grounds - which is why many went home disappointed.

It was more than half an hour later that the drones were able to take off, music was played and a story about the Nibelungen legend was told. The story was interrupted by a sudden jolt: the fireworks went off just as the dragon spit in their direction. The effect was impressive, and the spectators loved it. From then on, at least from a distance, things seemed to be running smoothly.

But there were problems with the music, which as usual was provided by Radio Bonn/Rhein-Sieg and was supposed to be heard by anyone not on the main site. The sound was delayed. Presenter Frank Wallitzek tried to bridge the delay, but had to admit that he had never experienced anything like it before. The station then announced that the music that was supposed to accompany the fireworks had been cancelled and Wallitzek resumed his normal radio show.

This was the first time the fireworks were complemented by a drone show. At exactly 11.05 p.m., the programmed drones, controlled by two drone pilots, were to take off to offer the audience a unique show. Instead of the planned 30 minutes, this lasted only 13 minutes before it was followed by the traditional fireworks.

Original text: Alessandra Fahl, Benjamin Westhoff and Nicolas Ottersbach

Two cars burn out in a car park in Hennef

On Saturday evening, firefighters were called out to a car park of a supermarket in Hennef. The fire service was informed at around 9.06 pm that two cars were on fire in the car park. When the crews arrived at the car park, the cars were already fully engulfed in flames and the fire was spreading to the supermarket, which was still open at the time. The fire spread so high that it also damaged the front of the supermarket and a neon sign directly above the burning vehicles. The emergency services initially assumed that the burning cars were electric vehicles. However, this suspicion was not confirmed.

At the scene, the driver of the Ford Focus said that her car had caught fire first. The flames are said to have spread from the glove compartment to the entire car and from there to the neighbouring car.

The Ford Focus and the Renault Modus burnt out completely. Nobody was injured in the fire, the police said. It was not clear what started the fire on Saturday evening. The Ford was seized for evidence and the investigation is still ongoing. The property damage amounts to around 20,000 euros.

Former Sea Life reopens its doors for the first time in 15 months

"It's not an overstatement to say that we can welcome you to one of the most beautiful exhibition rooms on the Rhine," said Königswinter's mayor Lutz Wagner on Friday at a press conference in the former Sea Life cafeteria, which offers an unobstructed view of the Rhine through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Whether the mayor is right to praise the rooms, or whether he is overshooting the mark, interested parties can see for themselves from Sunday. At 12 noon, an exhibition of works by artists from the Königswinter-based group Kunstforum Palastweiher will open there. It is the first event that the city has organised since it was decided in March, with the support of politicians, that the city would take the interim revitalisation of the building into its own hands. This means that 15 months after the aquarium was closed, the doors of the building will open to the public for the first time.

Further exhibition already planned

The one exhibition, which will be on show for six weeks in the place where the Sea Life cafeteria and ticket office used to be, is not the end of the story. At least one more show is planned in August. This will be dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the town twinning between Königswinter and Cleethorpes (now North East Lincolnshire). Memories from the past five decades will be brought together there. The exhibition will open on Saturday, 24 August, and it will include opportunities for pupils and students to find out about opportunities to spend time in the UK.

It remains to be seen what will happen in June and July in the former Sea Life, which department head Fabiano Pinto would like people to remember as "Rheinallee 8" and thus shake off the building's past. The city, or rather the culture department, is still in contact with artists, according to city spokesperson Florian Striewe. The demand is there. Readings and smaller concerts are conceivable in the future, and according to Pinto, there will already be "a bit of music" at the exhibition opening on Sunday.

Tender for permanent use possibly this year

The long-term future of the building complex is still unclear. A call for tenders should allow further concepts to be submitted. In addition to the question of what will be there in future, according to Mayor Wagner, an essential question is who will run it. "It is unlikely that it will be the city itself," says Pinto. Whether this will also mean that the city will sell the building is still just as open as the question of whether the building will remain standing. Still on the table are the already formulated ideas of a climate centre, which would also include the Siebengebirge region, nature conservation and the environment, and a wine experience world that would make the history of wine growing tangible through the use of vending machines.

According to Pinto, in order to be able to formulate the tender in a meaningful way, the city wants to bring in an external planning office to bundle possible, sensible and desired utilisation options. There may also be a feasibility study, says Pinto, who expects the external support to cost around 15,000 to 20,000 euros. The aim is to launch the tender in the autumn.

Original text: Lydia Schauff

Translation: Jean Lennox

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