Christmas markets despite the energy crisis: ice rinks in question

Schwerin (dpa / mv) – After two Corona years without real Christmas markets in the north-east, it should glitter again this year in the Advent season and smell of candy floss and mulled wine – despite the energy crisis. The showmen are booked and have not received any cancellations so far, as the chairman of the state association of the industry, Lothar Welte, told the German Press Agency.

The cities also emphasize how important the Christmas markets are. “The darker the times, the greater people’s need for light and warmth,” said Stralsund’s Mayor Alexander Badrow (CDU). “As long as the laws and regulations allow it, I will not take this light and get-together away from my Stralsund residents.” However, no one can predict the situation in December. Rostock’s Vice Mayor Chris von Wrycz Rekowski (SPD) also underlined the social importance. The Christmas market is a place of gathering, family time in the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle and social experience, which has been neglected in the last two years, he explained.

The experiences so far this year at the folk festivals, which could finally take place again without restrictions, have been extremely good, reported Welte. “The visitors are here.” His colleagues had never heard so many thanks as this year. “It’s crazy and a very good feeling for us.”

Welte countered fears that Christmas markets could be canceled or that prices could rise sharply due to the energy crisis. Almost all booths and rides have long been converted to LED lighting and economical, modern drives, he said. Even a Ferris wheel doesn’t use a lot of electricity. “When people go to the folk festival and ride the merry-go-round, it uses less electricity than when they all sit at home with the television on and play the Playstation.”

Welte does not expect prices on the rides to rise sharply at the 2022 Christmas markets. He himself has kept the price of 3.50 euros per ride in his bumper car since 2019, he said. The mass of visitors do the business. Welte himself will be at the Rostock Christmas market, as he said.

The biggest energy guzzlers at Christmas markets are ice rinks. These are also most likely to be in question. The operator of the ice rink in Wismar has already decided not to build it this year, he said. Elsewhere, the decision is still pending. The city administration of Stralsund said that the ice rink accounts for three quarters of the total energy costs at the Christmas market.

There could be higher prices than before at the food stalls. Welte referred to increased purchase prices for oil and other ingredients. He assured: “Everyone tries to ensure that folk festivals remain folk festivals with good prices. If we alienate people, then they won’t come anymore.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220922-99-853165/2

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