Beuel The city of Bonn has cancelled the large fair Pützchens Markt for 2021. Lord Mayor Katja Dörner cites health precautions for the population as the main criterion for renewed cancellation.
Pützchens Markt is cancelled again this year. Bonn's Lord Mayor Katja Dörner (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) publicly announced the decision via livestream on Wednesday afternoon. Previously, a longer video conference with representatives of the Schaustellerverband Bonn had taken place. At this the pros and cons regarding a possible hosting of the popular folk festival were once again intensively discussed.
"This decision was extremely difficult for all of us, because we know how important Pützchens Markt is in the region," the mayor emphasized. Although the vaccination progressed and light at the end of the pandemic tunnel was visible, it would not be responsible to hold a folk festival of this magnitude.
From the point of view of the administration, the responsibility for the health of the citizens had to be weighted higher than the justified and also understandable interest of the population in a folk festival. Even if more and more people were vaccinated, an event with hundreds of thousands of guests at the beginning of September 2021 could not take place, said the OB. "We are aware of the implications of this decision. Above all, the showmen are hard hit by it, and we are currently in talks about how the city of Bonn can accommodate the showmen with offers of help," Dörner said.
On Wednesday morning, Albert Ritter, President of the German Showmen's Association (Deutscher Schaustellerbund, DSB), was still in favor of postponing the decision on Pützchens Markt for at least four weeks: "No one can currently predict where the incidence values will be in September and whether hygiene requirements will still have to be met at all." To decide on the basis of speculation whether a traditional festival such as Pützchens Markt can be celebrated in three and a half months is not justifiable in terms of responsibility towards the showmen's trade.
Ritter recalled statements by NRW ministers Karl-Josef Laumann and Andreas Pinkwart last week that folk festivals with appropriate hygiene concepts were conceivable in late summer. "Pützchens market must not be compared with the Oktoberfest. To Munich it draws tourists from all over the world. Pützchens Markt, on the other hand, is a regional folk festival that can be controlled and carried out with conditions, if the infection situation allows it." His advice was, "Alcohol should only be sold in the open air. At last year's temporary amusement parks, my industry proved that such a scenario is controllable."
Market master Harald Borchert explained why the city of Bonn could not decide at a later date: "As a municipality, we are bound by legally prescribed procedures. This is especially true for the tenders for various services such as power supply, fireworks and security services." But the market school, which serves as an operational guard every year during the fair and has to be emptied, also needs a decision for lesson planning, he said.
Roland Barth, second chairman of the Schaustellerverband Bonn, who had participated in the deliberations, told the GA afterwards, "For us, this is a sad decision. Pützchens Markt is a matter of the heart and of course also an economic factor from which we live." The showmen would nevertheless support the decision because the health of the population had priority. "But now we need an extension of government support, because otherwise some businesses will not survive economically," said Roland Barth.
As in 2020, the city of Bonn wants to accommodate the showmen with the campaign "Summer in the city". It is currently looking for possible locations in the city area where rides can be set up during the summer vacations. The city wants to waive fees. To place exclusively a well-known ride over the summer months on the Pützchener market meadows, Borchert classifies as very difficult: "Who should we favor? That makes no sense.“
Asked whether, from today's perspective, Pützchen's market can be celebrated in its original form in 2022, city director Wolfgang Fuchs replied, "As of now, we will be looking into this question. The experts advising us in the Corona crisis team encourage us that complete immunity will have been achieved by then. I firmly expect to see us at Pützchens Markt in 2022." Beuel's district mayor Lara Mohn (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen) told the GA: "Above all, the people of Beuel long for Pützchens Markt. But health protection prohibits us from holding a public festival of this scale."
Original text: (ga)
Translation: Mareike Graepel