Floats, floats, floats

The magnificently decked out carnival floats are one of the main attractions of Schemenlaufen in Imst. They used to be drawn by pairs of oxen, but today they are pulled by heavy trucks and constructed on semi trailers. The greater stability which is thus provided allowed the size of the floats to increase over time. Several groups of skillful men get together in autumn to build one of the huge floats. First and foremost the two traditional floats have to be mentioned – the one of the witches and of the bears. Other groups build further floats with current events as their theme.

Top secret

It takes weeks to build these floats sacrificing evening and weekends, everything’s done top secret in empty storehouses or specially constructed sheds. No one must guess the theme in advance. The only exception being the responsible Säckelmoaschter (heads of the respective groups of figures) and the chairman in order to prevent two groups choosing the same theme. One to two dozen of men use all their technical skills in order to present the most original float when its time to drive to town square on Saturday before Fasnacht.

A matter of height

The floats’ size require a lot of skill to drive them, long detours during the approach are common. Measure of potential bottlenecks is taken before finishing the floats to avoid getting stuck on the big day. In town square the spectator examines and explores the various floats. Visitors are always invited to become active themselves. On one float you can use a slide, while you are pushed through a pipe on another one. Refreshments are available at the bar of each float. Time and time again the procession is delayed because one of the floats cannot get through one of the bottlenecks. In such cases, parts of roofs are simply sawed off and get repaired later on, after Fasnacht has finished.

Imst time

If such delays threaten the scheduled beginning of the procession, the church clock is simply stopped, and while the rest of the world goes on, it stays five to twelve for the next half hour in Imst. That’s Fasnacht! A jury, consisting of members of all the float groups, rank the floats according to originality, construction and functionality. The pride of coming first is of course incredible.

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