What preparations are behind the lichtenfels basket market?

Fire department, police, bavarian red cross (BRK), roadblocks, private security service – with these means the city of lichtenfels takes care of the security at the basket market.

"Until three years ago, no one thought about blocking the roads", says the city manager of lichtenfels, steffen hofmann. Since the attack on the berlin christmas market on breitscheidplatz (19. December 2016), events in germany must be specially secured – including the basket market in lichtenfels. "It’s part of being prepared", says hofmann.

"The main entrance trenches are blocked with cars", explains hofmann. At the upper and lower gate as well as at the coburger strabe there are vehicles of the building yard or the fire department. "This is the second year we’ve done it", says the city manager.

The police are on duty and the BRK is stationed at three specific points. According to hofmann, there are two rescue vehicles and a fixed station at the basket market. Hofmann emphasizes, however, that the basket market "is a very very very peaceful festival". There have been no major incidents in the last few years.

In addition, a private security service is hired to guard the area of the basket market. "All rescue teams are in contact with each other", says hofmann. This should enable a smooth and fast operation.

Because of these increased security measures, "the costs have also risen in recent years", explains hofmann. The city has to pay about 60000 euro for the basket market – without personnel costs.

These figures include, for example, the employees of the building yard, who have been busy setting up the market since monday. On monday the "skirt around the town hall was built and on wednesday the stages will be set up", hofmann describes their work. Towards the end of the week, up to 40 employees are working in various shifts on the construction work.

100 000 visitors on average

The basket market – including the children’s flea market – takes place on around 17,000 square meters, says hofmann. And they are also necessary: in recent years "there have been an average of 100,000 visitors to the lichtenfels basket market," says the city manager, woman hofmann.

And also in this year similar visitor numbers should be reached. "But that always depends on the weather. Two years ago it rained quite a lot, so there wasn’t so much going on", explains the city manager.

There will be a lot on offer again for the friends of the wickerwork craft. "There is an exhibition by tim johnson in the city palace", says hofmann. Johnson is a braiding artist from great britain and has studied braiding cultures all over the world, which he presents in lichtenfels.

In addition, the city palace is also the venue for braiding courses. "They are basically fully booked", says the city manager. A few spaces are still available.

Hofmann’s secret tip this year is the parish garden: "it simply has a special flair with the wickerwork and the geniebercafe." Around the church there will be more wickerwork than ever before, says hofmann. In addition, there is again a braided-rough project there.

Many small artists

If you’re looking not only for wickerwork, but also for entertainment, you can get it from one of the many small artists who are on the go at the basket market. "Sven lange is there with his stilt figures", says the city manager. On saturday there will even be a fire show.

In addition, there will be music groups, such as from france or a samba group. "Diversity is important to us. That’s what makes the basket market so lively and some visitors are always surprised by the artists", explains hofmann.

Finally, hofmann points out several parking bans "that arise because of the rescue lanes". Residents and visitors should take the no-parking signs seriously: "otherwise we will have to have the vehicles towed away – and will do so." Because here it goes around the security of the visitors.

Hofmann recommends arriving by train. The train station is in the middle of the city, which is why you can be at the basket market in two minutes. "And it’s a stress-free journey and you can drink one or two more glasses of beer", recommends hofmann.