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Three day event in Bonn city center: Organizers plan “Bonn Shines” for first weekend of November

Three day event in Bonn city center : Organizers plan “Bonn Shines” for first weekend of November

If all goes according to plan, Bonn will host another “Bonn Shines” event this year. If the city council gives it the green light, the event would take place on the first weekend of November, with lots of Bonn's landmarks illuminated in colorful lighting.

Bonn's retailers are planning a "Bonn leuchtet" (“Bonn shines”) event for the city center on the first weekend in November. In the past, this has always been a well-attended event. Due to the regularly evolving Corona Protection Ordinance, a request to hold the event was put in later than usual this year, as the Bonn city administration announced in a draft resolution for the next council meeting on October 28. Assuming broad approval from the city council, nothing should stand in the way of the three-day festival. It would take place from Friday, November 5, to Sunday, November 7. It would also coincide with the Sunday shopping day on the 7th when stores are open from 1 to 6 pm.

The trade union Verdi spoke out against the Sunday shopping day. In an explanatory statement it said that “as a result of the planned Sunday openings, the employees of the retail trade would not be able to participate in social life on this Sunday, would not be able to do anything with their friends and families." For these reasons, the union is fundamentally against Sunday shopping. It also believes that the shopping is the main draw for the people, not the lighting installations in this case.

When asked, however, Britta Munkler, local official for Verdi Cologne-Bonn-Leverkusen, said she did not expect Verdi to go to court about this Sunday shopping day. In past years, Verdi had successfully sued a few times against Sunday shopping days in Bonn and cities in the Rhein-Sieg district.

By law in NRW, only up to four days of Sunday shopping is allowed per year, and those days must coincide with festivals, markets or other events. According to a decision handed down by the Federal Administrative Court, the majority of the expected visitors must come primarily because of the event and not because of the open stores. The City-Marketing association, which includes many Bonn businesses, has presented calculations that about one third of the visitors came in the past mainly because of the open stores. The remaining majority, however, came because of the event itself.

According to City Marketing Managing Director Maike Reinhardt, the retailers expect between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors over the three days, as parts of the population are still hesitant and try to avoid crowds. "Bonn leuchtet" was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, and the year before that, around 250,000 visitors came.

"Since 'Bonn shines' takes place outdoors, there is no 2G or 3G regulation. Anyone can come," Reinhardt said. However, since snack stands with international food ("International Streetfood") would be set up in the large public squares on that weekend, visitors there would be asked to put on their masks if queues got tight, he said. Those operating the stands would be asked to keep an eye on this and advise visitors if necessary. In the stores themselves, masks are compulsory as before.

"Bonn leuchtet" has been organized annually by the retailers since 2007. Elaborate illuminations, fireworks, light projections, the lighting up of buildings, streets and city squares are planned. Some of the places included will be the Old City Hall, the University, the Bonn Cathedral, the old post office, the Stockentor and Bottlerplatz.

City-Marketing and the Bonn/Rhine/Euskirchen Retail Association report that on some days, visitor frequency in the city center does not match the level during pre-Covid times. The fear, Reinhardt said, is that many have realized the convenience of ordering online and are sticking with it. She told the GA that the illuminated inner city is a draw for many, also from beyond the city: "If we're going to have a vibrant inner city, people have to come to the city.”

(Orig. text: Philipp Königs / Translation: ck)