Fastnacht is the name for carnival time in the Mainz region. Fastnacht is the night before the fasting of Lent though its origins go back to pagan Roman festivals celebrating the end of winter. It's a period of wild celebration.
At Fastnacht there are special costumes for the carnival society members with distinctive headgear. Here, following local custom, Mayor Bersch, with his hands tied, surrenders the town to the carnival fools. They are in charge and their rules apply. There's lots of drinking and drivers leave their cars at home. The Committee's motto this year was "Der wilde Westen ist verwaist, wenn Manitu nach Bischem reist" The Wild West is deserted when Manitu travels to Bischofsheim.
You'll find lots more information and pictures in the Lokal Anzeiger of the 11th February 2010 held in Crewe Library.
The Carnival Committe on their float greeting the crowds.
The processions are very impressive.