Fun and shopping opportunities at the Bitburg Beda market

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Preparations will soon start for the annual "Beda" market, which will take place in the famous Beer City March 18-20 in Bitburg, Germany.

Under the theme "Looking, Exploring, Informing," the popular Beda market will attract visitors from all around Germany and the neighboring countries of Luxembourg and Belgium.

"If weather permits, about 80,000 visitors are expected to flock into the city Friday through Sunday," event organizers said.

For the 32nd time, the city of Bitburg will present both its economy and cultural life in various spots throughout the city. More than 150 vendors will set up stands to provide information and products, and more than 50 stores within the city will remain open for Sunday shoppers 1-6 p.m. March 20.

The Beda market

Bitburg was called "Beda" in Celtic times, and that's where the market's name originates from. At the event, people will find large-scale exhibitions, to include car shows and a trailer's market, artifacts, handicraft items, a farmer's market, book sales, and much more.

A small amusement park with rides will be set up on Beda-Platz. A variety of foods and entertainment will be offered, as well as music and entertainment. An agricultural exhibition and farm animal show are also part of the event.

Entry is free to all exhibitions; opening times are noon - 6 p.m. March 18 and 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. March 19 and 20.

What to expect

The market will officially open 11 a.m. March 18 on Beda-Platz, an area located in the heart of the city. This is also where the city holds its monthly markets, cultural events and festivals for the year.

The Beda Haus, the city's cultural center, is located on Beda-Platz and offers a museum, concerts, art shows, seminars and a public library for people to enjoy. For the market, the Beda Haus will offer an open house and 15 art stands presenting jewellery, Easter ornaments, woodwork, antique furniture, a book flea market and more.

The event is expected to liven up around noon March 18 when the handicraft and farmer's market open to the public at the "Festival Tent," located near the town's Gymnasium school behind the Coyote Café. The handicraft market offers information on many topics to include energy conservation and environmental protection. Visitors can obtain tips for purchasing everyday house and handicraft items and outdoor equipment. Handicraft, to include smith works, wood items, spring baskets and others will be among the displays. Travel agencies will provide information and offer special package deals during the market. Furthermore, the farmer's market will highlight local culture and regional food specialties.

A large number of sales stands offering a variety of merchandise and candy will be set up in event areas. Many vendors will sponsor games and raffles where people can win prizes.

A special art and handicraft market, including jewellery and decorative items handmade by various artists from around the region, will take place for the first time at the Haus der Jugend, or Youth House, noon-6 p.m. March 18, or 10 a.m.-6 p.m. March 19 and 20.

"Freaky Voices and Special Guest Eike Drueck from Cologne playing the Saxophone" and "Erich and the Funky Moneyrollers" will perform concerts at the festival tent starting at 7 p.m. March 18-19.

Cars and vehicle displays

Visitors will find more than 100 different models of cars and vehicles on display 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. March 19 and 20 at both the Bitburg-Pruem "Kreissparkasse" county bank and inside and outside a tent on Beda Platz, spread out on a 3,000 square meter-surface. Vendors will be available to provide information and answer questions on latest models.
Free Park & Ride shuttle bus service

The city arranged a free Park and Ride shuttle bus service to and from the former Bitburg Air Base 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. March 20. Signs will direct visitors to the parking lots. Parking is 3 Euros per vehicle. Transportation to the town center and back to the parking lot is free. Many roads throughout the city will be blocked for traffic March 20.

The history of Bitburg and the American presence

Bitburg, located in the south-Eifel was called Beda in Celtic times. The city was part of the Roman protectorate until 400 A.D. In the early Middle Ages, Bitburg belonged to the Luxembourg earldom, later duchy of Luxembourg and, in 1443, the Burgundy county. The city later came under French administration and was transferred to the Kingdom of Prussia. Bitburg was poor at that time. When establishing the infrastructure for the war, the city invested in the West Barrier, new military barracks and the "Kylltal" railway net, and the city's economy improved. During the war, from 1944 until 1945, about 85 percent of the city was destroyed by bombings and Bitburg was declared a "dead city."

Luxembourg soldiers occupied the city and were replaced by the French in 1955.

In 1965, the U.S. military base was opened under American leadership. At the end of the 1980s, the French withdrew their last troops, and NATO took over the former French barracks. There has always been a military presence in Bitburg, and this did not change after World War II. More than 12,000 military members were stationed at Bitburg until Oct. 1 1994, when the base closed. After the closure, the Bitburg Annex housing area, with 1,300 housing units, was taken over by the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base.
In 1985, the city became the focus of world press for many weeks when former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl laid down a wreath at the local "Kolmeshoehe" cemetery where 59 young, German SS-combat troops were laid to rest.

Over the years, the city of Bitburg has grown to be an important industrial city that offers access to many needs - multiple grocery stores, a large number of specialized stores, different car dealerships, construction markets, a hospital, doctors, dentists, beauty shops, guesthouses, restaurants and more. Americans have also become an integral part of the German community in Bitburg.

About 3,000 Americans still reside in Bitburg. Local residents enjoy a strong friendship and partnership with the American neighbors in the area.