Bonn As an alternative to the annual Bonnfest, the Beethoven rally this weekend aimed to provide a boost to the local economy and encourage Sunday shopping in the city.
The Bonnfest, which takes place every year on the first weekend in October and sees the shops open for business on a Sunday, is always a welcome extra for the retail traders in Bonn. But this year everything was different due to the corona pandemic. The City-Marketing association came up with a creative alternative in the form of a scavenger hunt (called Schnitzeljagd in German) through the city centre. During the Beethoven rally, 20 shops and restaurants placed green and gold Beethoven statues in their shop fronts or stuck letters in the windows from Friday to Sunday. The former were to be counted, the latter were to be used to form a word. The challenge was a way of luring visitors to the city centre shops and restaurants without large crowds forming.
"I think the idea is quite a good one. But of course, I hope that people will not only concentrate on the puzzle but do a bit of shopping too", said a good-humoured saleswoman at Galeria Kaufhof. Indeed, some of the participants seemed to be extremely focused. In the search for the solution, the street artists were ignored, including a devoted native Indian playing his pan flute, as were the food stalls. The challenge, intended as a measure to stimulate the economy, also meant that the goods displayed in the shop windows were not appreciated by many people. Some puzzle solvers came up with a proper plan. "We came especially before the shops opened to make sure we got through," said one couple. Another revealed: "I’ve come from the south of the city and I’m working my way up to the Beethoven Museum. I'm still missing seven". Here the queues of people waiting for admission to the museum and the numerous guided tours proved that Bonn remains a popular destination for excursions. "Honey, that isn't the house", a woman shouted to her husband as he photographed the ticket shop diagonally opposite instead of the composer's birthplace.
The plan to stimulate the economy did seem to be working at the Eislabor in Friedrichstraße. A young woman with two children, who obviously enjoyed the rally, noted down the golden Beethoven figure found there, before one of the children wanted an ice cream. " I can’t tell yet whether we will make more sales overall thanks to the Beethoven rally. But every now and then people come in and take part and buy a coffee," said an employee in the neighbouring Kessel's Espresso Studio. A group of young female students also decided to join in spontaneously before their shopping trip. "We'll see what we find out. Maybe we'll discover a new shop. But then we will go shopping," joked one of them. In the end many participants did want to shop - even before the stores opened at 1pm, many people were waiting to be let in. The scavenger hunters have until Wednesday to submit their answer sheets.
(Original text: Jakub Drogowski, Translation: Caroline Kusch)