Big turnout: chestnuts for sweets Visitors get creative at Haribo swap event
Grafschaft · As early as 4:30 a.m., the first people were at Haribo in Grafschaft to trade in their acorns and chestnuts for candy. Haribo expects long lines for the swap event.
Wheelbarrows, garden buckets, storage boxes and wagons: people are very creative when it comes to transporting their collected acorns and chestnuts to the Haribo weighing station. Most of them have collected a lot of nuts, and no one actually ends up with less than ten kilos. So those who do not transport their acorns on wheels, quickly work up a sweat. Haribo has cordoned off a large parking area in the Innovation Park especially for the many people arriving from Cologne, Koblenz or even the Westerwald. The parking lot attendant tells us that the first people arrived as early as 4:30 a.m. The queues are still moderate on the first morning of the event, which is being held again after a two-year break: People, in many cases families, are only lining up on the specially cordoned-off paths directly on the Haribo site. In other years, as a Haribo employee reports, the lines stretched all the way to the autobahn.
Jana Holler had her turn at one of the large scales this morning after only an hour's wait. She set off from Overath at 6:30 a.m. with her two small children: "But they were very patient," says the mother. Collecting chestnuts is a tradition in her family. Even as a small child, she collected many chestnuts from the almost 100-year-old tree in her parents' yard. The family weighs their chestnuts, tipping the scale at over 100 kilograms. That means 10 kilos of gummy bears for the two little ones, "but they will certainly share that with cousins," as the mother reminds them.
Box by box, Thomas Bauer, a Haribo employee, empties the family's chestnuts onto a small conveyor belt that then transports the nuts into huge collection containers. Every year, 200 tons of chestnuts are collected by the confectionery manufacturer, which then donates them to animal parks all over the country, such as the Hellenthal Zoo. After just under two hours, Bauer had the feeling that somewhat fewer had been collected than two years ago. But something is new this year: traditionally, more chestnuts than acorns are delivered to Haribo, this year it is almost the other way around, says the man who stands in the company's production hall on normal working days. His colleague Andreas Hartum, who normally works in the head office, is working up a sweat hauling chestnuts: "A 60-kilo sack was delivered here just now. You need several people to carry it," says Hartum.
The fact that the queues are still so short this morning is certainly due to the somewhat gloomy weather, says Burkhard Zyber, head of corporate communications. "Tomorrow it's supposed to be very good weather and, after all, many people are off work on Saturdays - so we're expecting much longer lines." In Rhineland-Palatinate, where Haribo has its new headquarters, there are still school vacations, but not in North Rhine-Westphalia. Many families take a day off for the swap event, Zyber knows from previous years. His tip: Bring something to eat and drink. Fun and games, on the other hand, are provided for: the little ones can shorten their waiting time at painting and handicrafts tables, with gold bear bowling and fishing, or take a souvenir photo. The kick is that it looks as if you are inside a giant golden bear bag.
(Orig. text: Raphaela Sabel / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)