My very first major experience in Europe was dressing up as a Champagne bottle for Düsseldorf’s Rosenmontagszug, also known as Rose Monday Parade. Beginning with the “awakening” on the 11th of the 11th month at 11:11 am, carnival season continues through Ash Wednesday and includes some of the best parties Europe has to offer — the biggest one being Rosenmontagszug.
Similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Rosenmontagszug is an enormous, city-wide party in which everyone — old and young, sober and not-so-sober— join in on the fun. Drinking, dancing, laughing, cheering and overall joyous revelry take over the streets of Düsseldorf during the celebration.This year I was asked to participate on a float during the parade. To which I obviously said yes. It was one of the most outrageous experiences of my life. The parade consists of over 60 insanely decorated floats, many of which are politically charged and therefore had Trump as the subject of mockery (they had more than enough to work with this year!)
In addition, the parade is filled with walking groups, marching bands, dancers and other unidentifiable groups of revelers. Lining the streets are about a million—yes, a million—people in all sorts of crazy, outlandish costumes cheering as the floats go by.Being on a float, dressed as one of my favorite beverages, in Germany, on a trip sponsored by the German Tourism Board is already an incredible experience. What made it even better? The fact that my main job was to throw handfuls of candy at the crowds! To get my attention, carnival-goers literally screamed, “Düsseldorf Helau!” — the local greeting — in hopes that I throw treats to them! Some people even threw roses to me. Dream come true.
It was literally five hours of smiling, waving and simply being excited for the unbelievable celebration that was happening. It truly was a day of amusement, exhilaration and pure enjoyment.
This is as close to being famous as I’ll ever get.