With most things in life, someone has to be in charge, and Carneval is no exception. Carneval’s main man is the prince. The Carneval Elferrat elects a new prince each year. From the group of eleven, two members have the dubious honor of making the selection. They are not allowed to share their discussions or choices with anyone, even the other members of the Elferrat, until they have chosen and asked the man who will be that year’s prince. Here is a record of every prince since 1897.
The prince for 2012 was Seine Totalität Franz IV. Goda. During the rest of the year, he is Franz Goda, owner of the Goda Fahrradhaus, a bicycle shop in town. After he was chosen, his store got the full Carneval treatment (see the photos below). To be the prince is an honor, but it is also an expensive and time-consuming venture. There are galas, masquerade balls, visits to the float-building meetings of the individual groups, visits to local businesses to hand out prince fan-gear, meetings, and, of course, all of the everyday life stuff. The prince also has to buy an ornate costume, but it’s so cool that it’s definitely worth it. You can see the costume here in this article from the Oldenburgische Volkszeitung. Word on the street is that the Goda family is “carnevalverrückt” (crazy about Carneval), so I’m sure that His Royal Highness was über-pleased to be chosen as the prince. He even did a stage-dive into the crowd at Billy’s Fun Tent on Monday night. Rock on, Your Highness!
In addition to the Prinz and his court, there is also a Kinderprinz, child prince. This year’s Kinderprinz was Jan II. Pohlschneider. He and his court looked proud and professional on their float. Well done, Prinz Jan II.!