Tapping a free beer keg: Mayor Klaus Heilinglecher (left) and IATR President Frank Thiel. © Peter Herrmann
Wolfratshausen - Although the St. John's Raft procession had to be cancelled due to the high water level of the Loisach, the International Rafting Days offered an extensive program.
In addition to the approximately 230 guests, District Council President Josef Mederer, District Administrator Josef Niedermaier, Member of the State Parliament Martin Bachhuber and Wolfratshausen Mayor Klaus Heilinglechner with his counterparts Michael Müller from Geretsried and Moritz Sappl from Eurasburg also attended a Bavarian festive evening in the Loisachhalle.
Moderator Ludwig Gollwitzer first belied the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. "They say that rafting is an extinct profession in Europe," he shouted to the crowd. As a result, he was met with loud cries of protest in various languages. Gollwitzer's conclusion: "Rafting is alive!".
Mayor Klaus Heilinglechner then first thanked the families of Franz and Josef Seitner as well as Michael Angermeier from Arzbach, who organize pleasure cruises on the Isar and Loisach rivers and thus maintain the tradition. By hosting the International Rafting Days, Wolfratshausen is demonstrating "cosmopolitanism".
In his ceremonial speech, Frank Thiel, President of the International Rafting Association (IATR), emphasized in particular the inclusion in the UNESCO list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2022. "We have arrived at Olympus," he said happily.
After the Wolfratshausen town band had presented their "Luftballonpolka" and Anderl Wagner's own composition "Auf zur Floßfahrt", Thiel made it foam enormously when tapping a free beer barrel. Mayor Heilinglechner assisted with security strikes and then toasted the IATR President. It was accompanied by a hearty buffet with roast pork, schnitzel, dumplings and coleslaw.
As a thank you, host Heilinglechner received gifts from their home regions from the culinarily spoiled raftsmen. Starting with a glass image of the patron saint of raftsmen, Johannes Nepomuk, who was born in what is now the Czech Republic, to lanterns, schnapps and ham from the Black Forest – the gift table filled up until the last delegation from Finland had paid their voluntary fee.
Afterwards there was a lot of applause for the young couples of the Wolfratshauser Gebirgstrachtenerhaltungsverein D'Loisachtaler, who had rehearsed a centuries-old raftsman's dance for the festive evening. With the powerful yodelling of Evelyn Hörschelmann from Wolfratshausen, the Italians in particular could no longer stay on the benches. They danced on the tables in the best Oktoberfest manner and sang along with the final Bavarian and European anthem with astonishing lyrics.
Gayle Prokarsky-Fraas contributed to better international understanding. She translated Ludwig Gollwitzer's Bavarian announcements into English and, like co-organizer Gaby Rüth from the Flößerstraße association, was also happy that the official part of the celebration ended after three hours, despite all the joy about the exuberance of the guests.
On the following Saturday evening, it was the party band Gaudibox who, after the fair and the parade with cover hits, chased the mood level in the Loisachhalle back up. Previously, children placed self-made rafts in the Loisach.