Da-Bach-na-Fahrt Raft Race, going “Wild on the Water!”
As an American, I had never even heard of Schramberg, Germany much less any of the shenanigans going on during their famous Carnival river raft races. What on earth had I missed? Apparentlly people come from all over Europe just to see and experience such a fun carnival river raft race known as the Da-Bach-na-Fahrt Raft Race. Literally translated it means to be “wild on the water!” As you may know, Germany is a country steeped in historic traditions, but this one takes the cake! And I can attest, they certainly have fun!
Carnival on a River Raft
For Carnival, this parade is not located on the streets but instead is located on the river. It is tub rafting at its finest! Wobbly constructed, homemade rafts maneuver the best way they know how down a tiny waterfall, then down the river, as the decorated crowd of about 25,000 cheer with craziness. They close down the entire town, as the revelers get together all day at different time to celebrate Carnival. And the band plays on.
Fools Guild Chooses Contestants
Three weeks before the start of the race, 80 contestants are chosen by the Fools Guild to pilot the 40 tubs in the race. Each tub is decorated with material provided by the guild. Each rider tries to navigate itself down the 600 yard stretch of the icy Schiltach River. Many make it in one piece, but most have varying degrees of success to pure failure, as pieces fly off or come apart. This is complete fun for the crowds, as they hoop and hollar and laugh. Each time, cheering on their favorite crazy group of rafters (including dogs!) as they somehow try to make it down the river without falling apart!
Crowds Come for the Fun
And when I say crowds, I literally mean crowds with everyone here all dressed up in some type of CARNIVAL outfit. I saw everything from matching clowns to Vikings to men in chicken costumes! You name, they probably have them here. And, of course, the crowds love to dress up and love to have a great time at these Carnival events. I have honestly never experienced anything quite like my time spent in Schramberg, so if you are ever in Germany during Carnival season, it is the place to be to join in these crazy German traditions.
Know when to go …
The big days in Schramberg are Sunday, for the Hanselsprung (2:30 pm) and Monday for the Katzenmusiken (10 am), the Bach-Na-Fahrer parade (11 am), the Da-Bach-Na-Fahrt (1 pm) and the big parade at 2:30 pm. Check the internet for the actual days in February they will have it, as of course, they change each year.
The closest airport to fly into would be Stuttgart, Germany. Take the Autobahn 81 south, then follow Highway B462 West past Dunningen and Sulgen to Schramberg.
Read about the Carnival parade I attended earlier that day in Schramberg, Germany
To read more about Germany’s Black Forest:
“#JoinGermanTradition: Carnival Craze in Rottweil & Schramberg”
Disclosure: My trip to Schramberg was a sponsored trip by the German National Tourism Board, however, the giggles, laughs and fun I had was all my own doing (with the help of the Fools, of course!).