Prince Michael I. and Princess Dorrie I.

of Babenhausen/Hessen, Germany

1981 / 1982





Different areas of Germany celebrate carnival, or Fasching, different. Fasching is the time from November 11, 11 minutes past 11 (11.11 11:11), until Ash Wednesday. It is a combination of political satire and the traditional chasing out of winter. Many of you may be familiar with the carnival in Rio de Janeiro or Mardi Gras. In Germany some areas celebrate it was special costumes and parades. But in most places just plain party time!! There are many events, either masquerade balls and/or evenings of satirical political speeches with dancing and singing shows. At these events the audiences also wears elaborate costumes. The city with the most crazy carnival time is Cologne.


In Babenhausen, where I lived at the time, a tradition was to have a couple represent them during the Fasching season as Prince and Princess. In the season 1981 / 1982 my husband and I were selected as the towns Fasching Prince Michael I. and Princess Dorrie I.


On November 7, 1981, we were announced as the new prince and princess.




The presentation of the new Prince Michael I. and Princess Dorrie I., together with "Hofmarshall" Alfred Weiser and the former prince and princess Angela I. and Helmut I.



The main part of the campaign began after the Christmas and New Years holidays. Ash Wednesday was February 24, thus making my 22 birthday fall on Fasching Tuesday. We were also married 22 years, making us the "perfect" Fasching royals.


Our costumes were selected from the great selection of the theaters in Frankfurt. We were the first couple to introduce the cities shield on the front of the princes' costume.


One of our first duties was to organize a big reception for all the carnival and city VIP'S of Babenhausen. Together with the help of my dance group and other friends we put together what I consider one of the best receptions that were ever done... and I'm not just bragging!


Some of my dancers wore folk dance costumes and acted as waiters for the drinks and buffet. The buffet included salads, chicken, and various other dishes. The table was decorated with flower arrangements. My friends, Maj. and Mrs. David Harrison, were the biggest help in the organizing.



with our pages Becky Jones and Regina Kaffenberger

Being a German / American couple, we also had chosen an American and German girl for our pages. Their job was to make sure my costume was sitting right and that we had a ready supply of drinks, among other things.


 During the receptions all the members of the Carnival committee and the members of the local government received their Carnival medals... special medallions that are designed new each year to fit the theme of the year. And WE were presented with the key to the city. We were now the sovereign rulers of Babenhausen.... until Ash Wednesday. All together there were around 75 guests in the halls of the local gymnastic club (where I normally taught my dance classes).



receiving the key to the city


What's a reception without music and dance? Boring! Well, this was not a boring reception! A German combo provided the dance music as well as a real American Country Western Band from the local American army Kaserne. Of course my folk dancers had to demonstrate some of their favorite dances, as well as having members of the audience dance with them. And as a special treat, the professional belly dancer "Roshan" enthused the crowd.




Then the action started....


The biggest events were the "Sitzungen", stage shows with all sorts of acts, from marching girls, singing, dance shows, more singing, fun speeches (usually politcal satires), etc. Of course, as the reighning "royalty", we had special seating.


Our first "official" duty was being the honored guests at the neighboring village of Sickenhofen.





After that were the "Sitzungen" in the main Babenhausen Stadthalle".

getting prepared

The Children's Prince and Princess

"Tanzmariechen" Corinna Kaiblinger






Saturday, February 20, 1982


To add life to the local traditions, we decided to arrange a storm of the city hall. This is a tradition other towns do but it hadn't been done in ours until now.... lots of lame excuses like: we don't have a confetti cannon! Well, we ended up having a great event! Everyone joined in!


Together with the marching band, the marching girls (Gardemädchen), the carnival commitee, plus many citizens of the city including many of the American's from the military community, we marched on the city hall, demanding release of the city's treasury. The mayor tried to ward off the attack with the help of the American military and the perfect confetti cannon! But soon the mayor and his officials had no choice but to give in.




At the city hall stairs, calling for the mayor to give in to the "Narrische Volk"!



throwing the city "treasury" (chocholate coins) to the people from the mayors office.


the mayor gets arrested and taken away in handcuffs by the marching gals

February 23, 1982


The highlight was to be the parade on Fasching Tuesday. Not only is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday the day of the final celebrations, but it was also my birthday! Members of the committee picked us up to bring us to our float in the parade.


Our float was beautiful. It had started to snow, too, and it was COLD!! I remember being on the float, the ice cold wind blowing, hands beginning to freeze but us still waving to our "folk". We didn't have any warm drinks on board or anything.... no one told us we had to provide that ourselves! Occasionally we joined the driver in his cab to warm up.

After the parade we went to the community center for the final party. The crowd was huge! We were the last couple to be prince and princess in the old hall... the following year they renovated it and it was never the same again.... not as "cosy".

Just before we presented out final speech to our "subjects", a fight started between 15 German's and American's, ending up with one American getting stabbed! Soon there were German police and Amercian MP's all over.


We made our final speech as planned at midnight, ending the Fasching campaign for 1982.



Babenhausen has a sister city in France, the Elsass city Bouxwille. In France they have their final Fasching celebrations on the weekend AFTER Ash Wednesday so off we went to represent Babenhausen and enjoy another "Sitzung" together with other members of the Babenhausen Fasching club. But the Bouxwille also had their own groups to present...

Our mayor's wife, Dagmar, presented a fun "speech".

The Babenhausen Catholic women's group presented some dance performances for us.......



In the years that followed I continued being active in the carnival scene, but primarily only as visitor. Together with my children's dance group we formed our own marching guards group and even marched in a few marching parades.


me and Regina