05.07.2022, Berlin: Franziska Giffey (SPD), Regierende Bürgermeisterin von Berlin, steht auf dem Berliner Hoffest mit dem jungen Ensemble des Friedrichsstadt-Palast Berlin auf der Bühne zusammen. Foto: Fabian Sommer/dpa - ACHTUNG: Nur zur redaktionellen Verwendung im Zusammenhang mit der aktuellen Berichterstattung und nur mit vollständiger Nennung des vorstehenden Credits +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

It is the highlight of the political summer festivals at the Berlin state level: the courtyard festival at the Red Town Hall. For the first time, the head of the town hall, Franziska Giffey (SPD), hosted a woman on Tuesday evening. 25 degrees, sunshine and a long queue at the entrance welcomed the guests on the forecourt of the Red Town Hall. Almost 4000 people came, the leitmotif:

The former governors Walter Momper, Klaus Wowereit and Michael Müller (all SPD) showed up, as did the CSD board member Monique King and Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal. Zoo director Andreas Knieriem and sports manager Kaweh Niroomand from BR Volleys were also guests.

Of course, SPD celebrities from the federal level had also announced their attendance at Giffey’s first town hall festival: Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, Labor Minister Hubertus Heil and Building Minister Klara Geywitz wanted to come.

From the early evening, visitors meandered between dozens of stands and stages. The guests were as colorful as Berlin: Some came in a tuxedo, others in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. Overall, the festival was significantly larger than in previous years, when the pandemic reduced the number of visitors.

“It hasn’t been this crowded in years,” said a long-time visitor to the courtyard festival. But of course, this happy evening was also about rising energy costs, the threat of poverty, and the war in Ukraine. And one or the other felt a little queasy without a mask. No, without a crisis, no town hall festival goes completely carefree these days. Even if Franziska Giffey had announced at the opening: There’s no point in celebrating at all.

Of course, the physical well-being was also taken care of. For example, the Berlin master chef of the year 2019 from the Faelt in Schöneberg, Björn Swanson, served his refined cuisine. On Tuesday there was his Berlin-Brandenburg pasta salad with watercress. Michael Köhle and Viktoria Kniely, the 2012 hosts from Tante Fichte, served tartare of yellowtail mackerel with pine trees, kohlrabi and buttermilk. Of course, Berlin currywurst was also served – from the secret hit of all political summer festivals: Curry36.

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The later the evening, the more boisterous the party became. While the sun was slowly setting, the singers and musicians from the Komische Oper set the mood with a best-of by Jacques Offenbach, before the Wintergarten Varieté entertained with music and dance.

97 sponsors, mainly from Berlin’s economy, financed the evening – so that the festival was relatively cheap for the city coffers at 40,000 euros. The guests should celebrate until late into the night on Tuesday. So many things she became familiar with – and the political summer break was heralded for the Berlin state politicians. One or the other hangover should be cured the next day on the way to the beach.