Bonn · Carousels started spinning on Friday morning in Bonn’s inner city. Set up in various locations, they are providing entertainment for the little ones, and allowing ride operators some relief in light of the cancellation of Pützchens Markt.
Three-year-old Arvid looks at the colorful merry-go-round on Münsterplatz with big eyes. The ride goes round and round while music is heard from the speakers. Arvid has never ridden the carousel before and gives it a critical glance. But the other children are having fun, they laugh and wave happily at their parents. The youngster musters all his courage, gets a ticket with his mother, sits down in the bright red fire engine and enjoys his first ride.
Since Friday morning, children's carousels, food stalls and sweets stands have been set up at several locations in the city center. The small family fair is intended to compensate for the many fairs that have been cancelled due to the corona pandemic. For seven months, fairground vendors and ride operators have not been allowed to work and did not earn any money. "This offers a glimmer of hope," says vendor Aaron Wolter. But the event is by no means a substitute for a large fair like Pützchens Markt. "For me, a funfair includes colorful lights, loud background noise and crowds of people," says Wolter.
Carousel cars are disinfected after each trip
"But this substitute event ensures that we fair vendors and ride operators do not fall into oblivion," says Werner Schmitz. He operates the children's carousel, which has been going round and round on Münsterplatz since Friday. Schmitz is also certain that the fair cannot compensate for the lost income. "But we can put a smile back on the faces of the children," says Schmitz. And it doesn’t even matter to them that they have to wait a little between rides during the disinfecting process.
After each ride, the cars and steering wheels are disinfected before another child can use them. Parents who accompany their children on the ride are obliged to wear a mask, as are the employees. These rules are part of the social distancing and hygiene plan that the fair vendors have worked out with the city. Friedrich Rüwe tapes off individual areas in front of his booth to ensure that visitors observe the rules of distance. At his stall, children can go fishing for ducks.
Rüwe owns an even bigger booth than the one that is here. "But the city has asked us to keep everything as small as possible, so here we are with our small stand," says Rüwe. "With the money we earn here we won't be able to pay old bills, but at least we'll be able to bridge the time", says the 29-year-old. Until then, he hopes that the fair will be well-received by Bonn residents. Five-year-old Luisa is already on the merry-go-round for the tenth time, an hour after the opening.
It’s too early to say if the small fair will be profitable. Fairground vendors and ride operators are all looking forward to the time when a real and proper fair can take place again. With colorful lights, music, big crowds and everything else that goes with it.
(Orig. text: Nathalie Dreschke / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)