This year marks 20 years of Maybole Pipe Band travelling to the Rosenmontag Carnival in the Rhineland in Germany.
The Rosen Montag Carnival is very much like Mardi Gras and falls every year on the Monday before Shrove Tuesday.
Pipe Sergeant Kevin McDermott told us: “The band first travelled to Urmitz in 1994 after Tom Fulton received an invitation from a friend who often travelled to the carnival.
“We set off in a minibus which was donated to the band by the very person (Peter Carey) who suggested we should go for the carnival.
“When we arrived, the accommodation which had been arranged for us was unavailable due to severe flooding that year. We were put up in hotels and when we were playing in one of the local venues we met a local man Eddie Knocker who originally comes from Stevenston. We struck up a friendship with Eddie who helped arrange accommodation for the following year’s trip.
“Since then, we have developed very strong ties with Urmitz and have a large network of friends. Every year we experience great hospitality from our German friends and have welcomed many of them in Maybole when they have visited for weddings, birthdays and just for holidays etc.”
This year, to mark their 20th anniversary the band travelled to Urmitz via Glasgow Airport to Dusseldorf and then by train to Koblenz where host families collected them.
The Mayor of Urmitz, Norbert Bahl, held a reception for the band and host families where they had a fantastic meal and drinks and looked over many old photos taken over the 20 years. During the evening the Carnival Prince and Princess from the neighbouring town Kaltenengers visited and presented each band member with carnival medals to mark the 20th year anniversary. By all accounts, a fantastic night was had by all.
After the mayor’s reception it was back to work for the band and they played at the civic reception at the town hall on the Saturday afternoon during which Kevin presented the mayor with a plaque marking the 20 years of friendship between Maybole Pipe Band and Urmitz.
Kevin thanked the Mayor for the hospitality and friendship over the last 20 years and added that they looked forward to the next 20! In the evening the band played at the local carnival ball.
Sunday was the first carnival in the next town, Kaltenengers, and the parade lasted for over two hours but the weather was kind with glorious sunshine!
Kevin added: “Over the 20 years we have made many friends. We are planning a celebration in May when some of our German friends will visit to mark the anniversary here in Scotland.”