Hessentag 2012


Immediately after the Jubilee celebrations, Colchester musicians set off for our twin town of Wetzlar. The Hessentag [State Fair] was held in Wetzlar from 1st to 10th June, when over one million visitors were expected.

The Sixth Form College Orchestral Ensemble  was directed by Nigel Hildreth, and they were joined by Jenny’s Accordionists and Colchester Waits;together they performed on three successive days on varying stages.

On Friday 8 June, they were all joined on stage by the Mayor of Colchester, Christopher Arnold, who together with his wife, the Mayoress, Amanda, had flown in immediately after the Colchester Cycle Races.

Over a dozen Society members were also present, having travelled by land sea and air, by plane, train, boat, cycle or car, from England and France.  All joined in many of the activities, including manning an information stand in the “Partnerschaft” marquee, and our Town Crier, Robert Needham,  together with his partner Audrey took part in the final procession – together with Ian McMeekan “carrying the banner”.

A wonderful show by our twin town – a huge event, described as a cross between a big agricultural show, the Diamond Jubilee and a street riot! As ever, all Colchester representatives were made most welcome.

Oh! And the telephone box has been re-painted!

The towncrier in action

Colchester Waits

The mayor joins in the action

The Sixth Form College

Some Turkish Dancers – from Turkey, no less!

Some apprentice Folk Dancers

Ian McMeekan

The Hessentag – 2012

A report from Doreen and Peter Goodchild.

Peter and I decided to go to Wetzlar for this ‘once in a lifetime’ event as a result of invitations from our many Wetzlar friends who almost expected us to be there.  We also had an invitation to stay with a very good long-lasting friend with whom we had stayed on many occasions.

We travelled on June 5th, using Germanwings from Stansted to Koln Bonn.  A friend who took us to Wetzlar in time for us to enjoy a lunch together met us.  After lunch Peter and I took a walk into town to see just what the Hessentag really was.  It was incredible – stands everywhere with plenty of seats where there were performers – particularly musicians.

We then progressed to the Twinning Tent where we greeted by Wetzlar people who thought we had come to ‘man the stand’ and also by the other German stands, the people on the French stand (who we have got to know quite well over the years at the Ochsenfest) the people from the Czech Republic and many others.  We spent some time in the ‘Twinning tent each day as Colchester had not been able to send someone to ‘man’ the stand.  However every one was very friendly and pleased to see us.  We also met Ulrike Sott who greeted us as ‘old friends’.

Wednesday 6th June.  Another day spent wandering around the town but going back to our ‘home’ for lunch.  We walked down to the Lahn area and were surprised to see how many stalls, rides etc that were available.

Thursday 7th June.  Basically a repeat of the previous day but we were amazed to meet so many old friends on each visit – some from 40 years ago!  As a result it took us sometime to walk any distance!  Today we met Bodo (and some others) who had brought over cheddar cheese.  This needed cutting into cubes for sampling once a good knife was located.  I cut up much of it in the next few days.

The Director of the School Music Groups in Wetzlar spotted us from the stage and came down to greet us in the audience.  He is Nigel Hildreth’s opposite in Wetzlar.

Friday and Saturday were spent in similar ways but in every visit to the town we saw something new.  We also took our hosts out to dinner one evening and had a superb meal in the old barracks area which has now been redeveloped and not too far from where we were staying.

Sunday 10th June.  The day of the Parade.  We were advised not to go into town as it would be difficult for me to stand for two hours after my recent illness.  It would also be televised.  We agreed to stay at the house, were given the remote control and saw the whole of the parade, which took over four hours.  We had made a good decision.  After that we visited friends for dinner.  There was also a concert in the Dom (the only event we had to pay for), which was very good.

Monday 11th June.

We again visited the town and were amazed at the efficiency of the workmen, and the machines they used, to clear the town centre.  In the evening we were taken to a final dinner for some Russian Nurses who had spent four weeks in Wetzlar learning the German ways.  It was an experience and we were made very welcome.

Tuesday 12th June.

After a last lunch in Wetzlar we were driven back to Koln Bonn airport for our flight home.  All in all a super visit – an experience that is a ‘once in a lifetime’.

Doreen and Peter Goodchild.