Saturday, January 23, 2010
GermanDeli in Colleyville hosts German Mardi Gras event on February 7
In Germany, they call Mardi Gras "Fasching" or "Karnival."
COLLEYVILLE GermanDeli, an ethnic food store, introduces a bit of goofy German frivolity to the Dallas-Fort Worth area by staging its fourth annual Fasching Fest at its Retail Store at 5100 Highway 121 in Colleyville on Sunday, February 7. The event is from noon to 5 p.m. and is free to the public. Disc jockey Peter Kau will flood the event with German party music, and master of ceremonies Ron Slade will make sure the crowd gets a good dose of silly fun. A costume contest, food tastings, wine and beer samplings, games for adults, fun for the little ones, and door prizes are some of the featured activities. Grilled bratwurst on a crusty roll will be available for purchase at a nominal cost.
The retail store is located along Colleyville’s busy Highway 121 retail corridor just north of Glade Road. Known simply as “GermanDeli,” the 5,000sf specialty food store features more than 5,000 individual items imported from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, and several other Northern, Central, and Eastern European countries, as well as sausages and cold cuts produced in the U.S. according to old world German and European recipes. No other retail store in the U.S. has a wider selection of German goods.
What is Fasching or Karnival? Almost everyone has heard of Mardi Gras, but in Germany the revelry associated with the period before Lent goes by an entirely different name. In more southern parts of Germany, including Bavaria, it’s known as Fasching and further north they call it Karnival. Other regions use variations of those names, but whatever the name, the 6-month long period of festivities kicks off at 11:11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year and climaxes on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the day many people begin a 40-day observance of Lent, which does not end until Easter Sunday.
The Karnival and Fasching tradition has roots in ancient Greek, Roman, and Germanic history, but modern German festivities were more formally organized during the last two centuries. Even the smallest of villages in Germany now typically celebrate with food, drink, dancing, parades, and floats, but as anyone who has traveled to Germany in the weeks and days leading up to Lent can tell you, it is in Köln (Cologne), München (Munich), Frankfurt, Mainz, Berlin, and other large cities where the celebrations are taken to extremes. Entire societies are formed to stage parties, masked balls, and street fests. Politics and politicians are lampooned in huge papier-mâché floats or by professional and amateur actors in costume. Local and national scandals and celebrities are all fair game for ridicule, and there’s a competitive element to most Fasching events when men and women host increasingly spectacular parties, outdoing one another in an attempt to gain popular votes and become the reigning Fasching or Karnival prince or princess. As with most German celebrations, food is a key element. Traditional festival foods like bratwurst and roasted chicken are featured, followed by some form of decadent fried dough or doughnuts serving as a perfect symbol for this period of pre-lent overindulgence.