Königswinter · Tens of thousands of people visit the "Unique Christmas Season" at Drachenburg Castle every year but in 2020, it did not take place because of the pandemic. This year, the event will take place once again but it will be a little different than before the pandemic.
Out of the sea of cancellations over the past year and a half, this news stands out like a brightly shining beacon: The GA has learned that the "Unique Christmas Season" at Schloss Drachenburg can take place this year - albeit on a much smaller scale due to the pandemic.
"We had actually planned the 'Unique Christmas Season' as in previous years. But unfortunately, the Corona Protection Ordinance does not allow for this," says Joachim Odenthal, managing director of Schloss Drachenburg GmbH. Since it is not foreseeable what kind of protective measures will be necessary when the end of November comes, the organizers have made the decision to offer a scaled down "Unique Christmas Time”.
The castle will be decorated for Christmas
As things stand at present, visitors to the castle will probably have to do without beloved companions such as Ebenezer Scrooge and other characters from Charles Dickens' famous Christmas story, but they will still be able to experience the unique ambience of the castle and its park, all decorated for Christmas.
In 2019, nearly 60,000 visitors from near and far came to the Christmas market in Königswinter on the four weekends of Advent. Last year, the "Unique Christmas Season" event had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
This year is different. On all four weekends of Advent, guests can look forward to the historic decorations that transport visitors back to the 19th century. Vintage Christmas pyramids and all kinds of tree decorations give visitors the feeling that palace builder Freiherr Stephan von Sarter personally lent a hand in all the preparations.
In the castle, a protocol is used that has become commonplace in many areas of life since the outbreak of the Covid pandemic: anyone entering the castle wears a mask.
Puppet theater and an array of colors
Visible from afar, the castle and park will be bathed in an array of colors, the work of lighting artist Wolfgang Flammersfeld. Visitors can enjoy his artistry, transforming the castle which was built between 1882 and 1884 in the Gothic Revival style. Children will be treated to puppet shows, and two unusual characters from dreams will appear in a variety of places. A professional musician will set the mood for Christmas. "We are still negotiating with more musicians," Odenthal said.
Open all four weekends of Advent
"In this pandemic year, we want to show a little bit of how Christmas has evolved - from the time the castle was built until today," Odenthal says. He's sure that everyone involved in the "Unique Christmas Season" will create "a magical ambience, just as in the past," despite the Corona protection ordinances that will be required.
"The visitors should be able to unwind and relax", is the wish of the manager. It will be open on all four weekends of Advent from 12 to 7 pm. One detail that is different this year? A maximum of 2,500 visitors will be allowed per day.
It has already been confirmed that the "Festival of Fantasy" will also return to Drachenburg Castle in August of next year. "We have the most beautiful small art festival in all of the Rhineland - if not of Europe," believes Joachim Odenthal.
“Castle lights” starting at the end of January
Magicians, artists, and cabaret performers from all over the world will be putting their talents on display. One of the rather unusual culinary offers for the "Festival of Fantasy" will come from a chef who will be pitching a Bedouin tent. And "Those who wish may also bring a picnic to the festival.”
Another ray of sunshine in Covid times is that the popular "Schlossleuchten" (“Castle Lights”) will once again set a special mood at the castle with its many towers, featuring a beautiful show of lights. "Yes, the Schlossleuchten will also take place," Odenthal says hopefully. From Friday, January 21, to Sunday, February 27, lighting artist Wolfgang Flammersfeld will enchant Drachenburg Castle with his ideas. "We always try to have a theme for the lighting," Odenthal says. The illuminations will be on display high above the Rhine Valley on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for five weeks. Further information about events at Drachenburg Castle is available at www.schloss-drachenburg.de (in english). (Orig. text: Mario Quadt / Translation: ck)