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As Karneval was just recently celebrated in Germany our former Miss German America, Kristina Kren, looks back on her trip to Cologne last March.
I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to travel over to Köln for Karneval last March. The trip was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel with my mother, where we were invited to stay in a little town on the outskirts of Köln, called Hürth, with Frau Hinz. This very welcoming woman has many connections to the German American Steuben Parade in New York, including the Kölsche Funken group. Frau Hinz has hosted over thirty past Queens of the Steuben Parade. She looks forward to it every year. Frau Hinz and her family were very hospitable and introduced me to many dignitaries around the city. My first day there I was able to meet the Bürgermeister of Hürth, Walter Boecker, and had a nice conversation with him about my experience as Miss German America last year. That night I was fortunate enough to get invited to a Sitzung in Köln hosted by the Rote Funken. We were invited by Peter Klober and were able to enjoy the Rote Funken Tanzgruppen, comedians, and a ventriloquist act. Everyone was dressed up in many different costumes, from gamblers costumes to 70s costumes to chimney sweepers. It was a fantastic night to experience.
For the rest of the weekend, I traveled between the small towns around Hürth and went to four parades getting ready for Rosen Montag. There were so many original and creative costumes, which, in my opinion, was the most interesting part of the parade. Many boxes of chocolates, candies, and flowers were tossed into the crowd. Families and friends of all ages come out for the parade each year, and it's a nice community event.
The final day was the biggest of all - Rosen Montag. We woke up early in the morning to go to Köln and attended a reception in the Rathaus in the morning where I was greeted by the Oberbürgermeister, Jürgen Roters. I then met the Blau Gelb Funken and led the band in playing some songs. I was also invited to sit in their Tribune to watch the Parade. Thousands of people came out for this big day. People of all ages lined the streets dressed up in different costumes. The floats were unbelievable with so many different and creative themes. We got to see all the different Funken groups throughout the parade, which lasted for five whole hours! It was a sight to see and an experience I will never forget.
I am so fortunate to have been able to experience all of Karneval over in Germany, and I am so thankful to all the people who made it possible. I want to thank the Steuben Parade Committee for the opportunity I've had as Miss German America and helping to set up the trip to Germany. I would also like to thank all of the people I met over in Germany who were so welcoming and hospitable, especially Frau Hinz. This has been a trip I will never forget and carry the wonderful memories with me for the rest of my life. I am so proud to represent my German heritage and to be able to have had this opportunity.