Gold Bears for Chestnuts Haribo is getting ready for the swap event
Grafschaft · To mark the Gold Bear's 100th birthday, Haribo is again organising the popular chestnut collection campaign in Grafschaft. If you want to take part in the exchange, you’ll need to be willing to wait three and a half hours.
Preparations are underway for this year's chestnut drive at the Haribo factory site in Grafschaft. On Friday and Saturday, 21 and 22 October, the sweets manufacturer will once again be exchanging chestnuts and acorns for gummy bears and liquorice. It is the first campaign after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic and the flooding. The staff car park in front of the factory outlet is now closed. The infrastructure for the exchange campaign is being set up there over the next few days. The most important utensils are the scales, because for every ten kilos of chestnuts or five kilos of acorns delivered, you get one kilo of sweets.
Employees help with the exchange
The company put out a call for employees who would like to actively take part. The campaign is part of Rhineland folklore. Practically every child has been looking forward to collecting as many chestnuts as possible in autumn and bringing them to Haribo. And this year - the 100th birthday of the Golden Bears - it's a matter of honour.
The exchange has been taking place since 1936 and is now in its 84th year. It was company founder Hans Riegel Senior who launched the campaign at the company's headquarters in Bonn-Kessenich. The original idea was to have a fun collecting and swapping event for the local neighbourhood. The passionate hunter needed the chestnuts and acorns to feed the wildlife in his hunting grounds. Over the decades, the chestnut campaign became more and more popular, and at the last count and average 10,000 people from all over Germany delivered their sacks and boxes, some of which weighed several kilos. In total, 200 tonnes of chestnuts and 70 tonnes of acorns were collected each year.
Entertainment to make the wait more pleasant
Children and young people and their families will have to plan for considerable waiting times. When the exchange took place in Bonn, waiting times of five or six hours were not uncommon. After relocating to Grafschaft, the waiting time was still around three and a half hours. During the last campaign, which was in 2019, some 145 tonnes of chestnuts and 34 tonnes of acorns were collected. The chestnuts and acorns are donated to various game reserves in Germany and Austria. For instance, the Hellenthal Wildlife Park in the Eifel benefits from the campaign.
This year, a little entertainment should make the waiting time more pleasant. The Haribo company has announced that various games are planned. For instance, there will be a wheel of fortune, gold bear bowling, a large craft and painting workshop, a football goal wall, a photo corner, and the gold bear will walking along the queue of waiting people. The German Red Cross, a security service and the Haribo staff team will ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Since 2017, the exchange campaign has been taking place at the new headquarters of the confectionery factory; previously, the chestnuts and acorns could be handed in at the factory outlet in Bad Godesberg. The change of location had raised questions at the time because the campaign on Bonn city territory was during the autumn holidays of North Rhine-Westphalia, while the holidays in Rhineland-Palatinate were decisive the past three times from 2017 to 2019 in Grafschaft. This meant that children from Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg district had to plan more carefully with their parents.
Many chestnuts and acorns still lying in the street
It was unclear until Tuesday whether the exchange campaign would happen again this year, which had led to the children from Bonn in particular showing a noticeable reluctance to collect. Walking through the autumnal city, you could see chestnuts and acorns still lying on the ground everywhere. Such a state of affairs would have been unthinkable in previous years. Normally high-yielding spots are guarded like a secret and quickly harvested.
This year, the collection point at the auction site in Grafschaft will open on Friday and Saturday, 21 and 22 October from 7 am to 4 pm. During this time, there will be a one-way traffic regulation immediately in front of the site on Joseph-von-Fraunhofer-Strasse. If you arrive at Haribo on the 61 motorway you will drive from the roundabout onto Fraunhoferstraße until you reach the factory sales building. Once you’ve dropped off your goods, the route returns via Carl-Bosch-Straße in a large arc. The lanes are then signposted. (Original text: Jörg Manhold / Translation: Jean Lennox)