Join in too! The climax of Carnival with the big, official parade - A colourful spectacle with thousands of people in fancy dress.
The parade begins at the 8th February 2016 at 10.30 a.m. at the Severinstor in the southern part of the city (Südstadt). When taking your place along the route, the rule is first come, first served. Latecomers pushing to the front are unpopular. The front row is, of course, reserved for kids. Those in the second row keep an eye on the kids, even if they are not their own. Despite the presence of official parade stewards, the distance to the massive floats is sometimes dangerously limited.
The typical material thrown from the floats includes "Strüßjer" (bunches of flowers) and "Kamelle" (sweets), which are loudly demanded by the crowds by shouting "Kamelle". Also chocolate boxes and bars, bottles of Eau de Cologne and countless other small gifts are thrown from the floats as well.
A tip: do not stay close to the Cathedral. This is where visitors arriving at the last minute by train crowd together. There are better places on the 6.5-kilometre parade route. At the assembly point, for example, you can take a good look at the groups. Photo: Joachim Rieger
The parade - facts and figures
> Length of parade: 6 kilometres, length of the parade route 6.5 kilometres.
> Pass-by time: about 3 hours, 10,096 participants, one-third of them female. 350 horse riders, 117 bands from Cologne, the surrounding area and several other European countries.
> Give-away material (paid for by the participants): 140 tonnes of sweets, 700,000 bars of chocolate, 220,000 boxes of chocolate, 300,000 bunches of flowers, thousands of soft toys and other gift articles.
> 74 decorated floats, 67 tractors, 50 Ford baggage trucks. Material used, 4,200 metres of roof battens, 5,000 metres of wire, 6,500 sq.m. wire mesh, 2,000 sq.m. of fibreboard, 1.5 hundredweight nails and staples, 3,600 kilograms of paint, 10 kilograms of glue, 500 sq.m. of chipboard and plywood, 10 sq.m. of plastic foam.
> Production costs for the decorated floats and bands: 0.65 million Euro. Total costs: about 2.3 million Euro.
Map of cologne - Watch the parade route: