World's longest wine street festival to celebrate 18th year

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The Mosel valley will become the El Dorado for cyclists and pedestrians for the 18th year in a row on May 30 when roads between Winningen, Cochem and Schweich belong to cyclists and walkers only. The 180-kilometer stretch will be closed to vehicle traffic 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., transforming this area into a recreational roadway.

According to organizers, more than 100,000 people are expected to participate in this unique, multicultural sporting event. Happy Mosel is the longest wine street festival in the world.

More than 60 villages and communities left and right of the Mosel wine road will provide various entertainment such as live bands, folk dancing performances, children's entertainment, a market of farmers, antiques and handicrafts, open wine cellars and more. About 40 events are planned to take place during Happy Mosel. Anyone can join in the fun by biking, skating or walking from town to town. Original food specialties of the Mosel region, as well as homemade goodies, wine and champagne can be found on Mosel residents' patios, at various stands, gasthauses and at wine cellars.

Happy Mosel sporting events include demonstrations and performances by top athletes in soccer, volleyball, tennis and shooting. One major stage for sports demonstrations can be found in the Mosel town of Kroev. Children may enjoy games, pony rides, face painting, puppet theater performances and more. Another stage offering fun and activities can be found in Bernkastel-Kues, along with a fitness massage tent, a bicycling repair station and musical entertainment.

Opening events take place in the town of Reil around 10 a.m., where the Minister President of Rheinland-Pfalz, Kurt Beck, will welcome participants, and a series of activities will kick off Happy Mosel. Other major activities are sched¬uled to be held in Zell, Traben-Trarbach, Zeltingen-Cloister Machern, Ernst, Enkirch and Neumagen-Dhron. Bikers can enjoy the entertainment and food offered by German club members along the way. Some German privately owned stores in Mosel towns may be open Sunday.

There will be special trains set up primarily so Happy Mosel participants can transport their bikes for free, but people still need to purchase a train ticket. Special bus service by the Rhein-Mosel-Verkehrsgesellschaft will also be available from major Mosel towns. People are encouraged to use public transportation rather than their own vehicles if possible.

A few start-off points for cyclists are the towns of Schweich, Kroev or Cochem, which are good locations with plenty of parking. Starting at Lieser, Bernkastel or another Mosel town is also favorable. For those who intend to take the train toward Cochem, Wittlich is the closest recommended train station for those living near Spangdahlem. Happy Mosel is a festive spring opportunity for athletes, volksmarchers, bikers and friends of wine and nature. For more information about Happy Mosel, call the Mosellandtouristik information office in Bernkastel, at 06531-19433. Be sure to inquire about the public transportation schedule.

Happy Mosel activities:

· Competitions and games near the Longuich bridge
· A children's jumping castle near the Mehring bridge
· An animal petting zoo on the B-53 entrance of Kluesserath
· Children's entertainment at the Wintrich Weingut vintner's estate, located on Moselweinstrasse 18
· A children's carrousel at Bernkastel-Kues Gestade
· Sports and adventure activities at the Bernkastel-Kues Moselparkplatz
· A jumping castle on the Zeltingen-Rachtig Mosel shore
· High-bike and unicycle performances at the Erden town entrance, and Roman games at the Erden Kelteranlage
· A bike show, games and other entertainment on the SWR1 radio stage in Traben-Trarbach
· A soccer goal wall on the Reil festival grounds