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The USAFE Band entertains the spectators at the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

The USAFE Band entertains the spectators at the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

The USAFE Band entertains the spectators at the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

The USAFE Band entertains the spectators at the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Children wait in anticipation as the 67th annual in Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade gets underway Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.


Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes

Children wait in anticipation as the 67th annual in Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade gets underway Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A spectator at the carnival parade records the USAFE Band as they pass by in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

A spectator at the carnival parade records the USAFE Band as they pass by in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

There were lots of interesting, colorful costumes at the carnival parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

There were lots of interesting, colorful costumes at the carnival parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Even President Donald Trump, aka Franz Bettinger, was at the at the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

Even President Donald Trump, aka Franz Bettinger, was at the at the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A participant in the carnival parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, passes out a sausage to a spectator, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Besides sausages the spectators were treated to candy, popcorn and more during the parade.

A participant in the carnival parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, passes out a sausage to a spectator, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. Besides sausages the spectators were treated to candy, popcorn and more during the parade. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Even a couple of dogs, like this one bundled up and carried by its owner, participated in the carnival parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

Even a couple of dogs, like this one bundled up and carried by its owner, participated in the carnival parade in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Sparki the Fire Dog and members of the KMC fire department greet the crowd lining the streets for the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

Sparki the Fire Dog and members of the KMC fire department greet the crowd lining the streets for the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

A local brass band participates in the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018.

A local brass band participates in the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

Children clap along to the music as the carnival groups pass by during the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. The bags are for the goodies the participants throw to the spectators during the parade.

Children clap along to the music as the carnival groups pass by during the 67th annual Ramstein-Miesenbach Fasching parade Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. The bags are for the goodies the participants throw to the spectators during the parade. (Michael Abrams/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN-MIESENBACH, Germany — Americans living in the Kaiserslautern area didn’t have to go far Tuesday to experience the crazy side of German culture during Fasching.

Ramstein-Miesenbach threw its 67th annual Fasching parade, capping what’s known as carnival season in Germany with a grand display of elaborate floats, marching bands and costumed revelers.

The parade, sponsored by the Bruchkatze Carnival Association, is the biggest in the Westpfalz area, with about 1,000 participants.

Americans in the crowds that lined the streets of the village outside of Ramstein Air Base said they came for the unique German experience.

“We just want to do what the locals do,” said Army spouse Jen Crawford, who was at the parade with friends and their children, wearing a green and blue wig. “We try to get out and do whatever we can. Where else can you dress up in wacky costumes?”

And there was plenty of wacky. Jesters with painted faces danced in the streets throwing candy and spinning noise makers; marching bands were, curiously, dressed in ponchos and sombreros. One group, presumably a garden club, wore watering cans upside down on their heads, with a space cut out for their faces. The “Bike for Peace and New Energies Kaiserslautern” group rode funny bikes, tooted horns and included someone wearing a Donald Trump mask.

Will McKee, 12, an American kid who was using his day off from school wisely, fit right in wearing a pink Whoopie cushion costume ordered from Target. His sister, Kayla, 8, dressed as a cat. The McKees and their friends, who staked out a place curbside, didn’t hesitate in stating their goals for the parade: “The candy!”

Candy and confetti rained down throughout the hour-long spectacle. “Candy landed on my head,” said one boy dressed as Batman.

There were flying bags of popcorn, and for the adults, samples of a drink that tasted like a Baileys milkshake. Groups pulled beer wagons, beverages that surely helped with the dancing and singing to songs like the “Macarena” before thousands of strangers.

Also raining down were Fasching greetings of “Ralau!, Helau!” and something that sounded like “Hi-Hopp!”

Among the U.S. parade participants were the Ramstein Fire Department, the Roller Girls of the Apocalypse and the U.S. Air Forces in Europe band.

svan.jennifer@stripes.com Twitter: @stripesktown

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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