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… Go to a Summer Festival at a Schrebergarten?

boy with face painted dragon

What’s it like to go to a summer festival at a Schrebergarten?

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A Schrebergarten, founded in the late 19th century, is a small, green lot leased from the city, on which you can build a cabin and grow veggies and flowers if you don’t have a garden or backyard of your own. Usually, these gardens are to be found next to the railroad tracks in Germany. In order to acquire such a piece of land, you join the Kleingartenverein, the community of other owners with strict rules for an orderly appearance of their “colony” (Schrebergartenkolonie).

The Schrebergartens were initiated by Moritz Schreber, who got ill famous by a very strict (nowadays, it would be considered abuse) education of the child, including tying an iron rod with a head frame to a kid’s back for a straight posture and the like. Schreber was well-known in his time as an educator, but his weird practices centered around the perfect, sportive, strong, and healthy child (forced about by mechanical means, sports, and drill) probably led his older son to commit suicide and his younger son, Daniel Paul Schreber, to be committed to a mental institution. If you’re interested, just read Memoirs of my Nervous Illness.

Anyway, whether they are athletic fields for children, veggie patches preventing starvation in hard times, kitsch, old-fashioned traditions, or just a really nice and orderly German custom, we visited such a Schrebergarten colony today, and Lyons Cub enjoyed their small playground and the games and activities prepared for the children. Every kid received a free ticket at the check-in to participate in two games, receive a free drink, and get a face paint or a tattoo. In addition, there was a lottery where you could win prices for 80 Cents per ticket. One of Leander’s favorite activities, which he usually just gets to do at fun fairs, is to go fishing for little plastic ducks to win prizes (they have numbers at the bottom):

A cool activity was the hot wire game, where kids had to lead the loop of a metal rod around an electric wire without touching it, and if they did, it buzzed. Even adults enjoy this game!

Lyons Cub got a cool, green snake tattoo on his arm:

In addition, he received a face-painted dragon including fire:

At the wheel lottery, he won the main prize (and picked a water tower for a Thomas the Tank engine railroad track).

His most exciting prize from the lottery was a Darth Vader sword that you have to shake so it pops out:

What a nice, small outing on a hot summer day!

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