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May 27, 2018

Birthday Play Street

10:30 a.m. in Bad Rodach: It’s been just a half hour since the big birthday game street opened its gates when seven-year-old Nele proudly presents her full game stamp pass, for which there is a surprise as a reward. She has already played the unicorn game, climbed the giant slide, crafted flowers, and won at the pirates game.  But the ten stamps in the pass don’t prevent her from continuing to play: “I’ll get another pass and fill it up as well,” she says very pragmatically. “I don’t want to go home yet.” She was right. After all, there are still a few more things to discover.

On this particular Sunday, Bad Rodach had transformed itself into a play town that has been taken over by children and their families. Many, many pavilions decorated with colorful garlands are lined up next to each on the streets, which at eight in the morning were still placidly sleeping in on Sunday. There are 58 game stations stretching from the August-Grosch-Straße to the Steinerer Weg and the Wallgraben to the Schlossplatz. They were set up in no time thanks to countless hard-working helpers. The helpers are all employees of the HABA Family of Companies and are performing their good deed today. They want to prepare an unforgettable day for people in and around Bad Rodach. And so today’s festival is a festival the family, so to speak, namely a festival of the HABA Family of Companies for the family!

“It’s so nice to see how everything that was developed on paper in recent weeks is being brought to life today!”

The big birthday play street was prepared over the past days and weeks and everyone was worrying whether the weather would cooperate. And it does indeed. The sun is smiling from a cloudless sky and is joining the celebration. The mood is exuberant. A street musician with guitars and harmonica takes off his top hat as a greeting and then cheerfully sings a song.

There is woodcarving, crafting, dice rolling, jumping, sliding, kicking, and most of all, games being played! “Look, I want to go there and join in,” a children’s voice was heard calling out more than once.

Corina Trier, the main organizer of the family event is visibly moved as she looks at the colorful hustle and bustle in the Wallgraben and the flamboyant stilt walkers as they pass by: “It’s so nice to see how everything that was developed on paper in recent weeks is being brought to life today! We’ve already had a lot of parties, but this is really unique and shows what we can do especially well: Play!”

And it also doesn’t matter if you lose some games. Sabine Habermaass knows that as well. She again catapulted the pirate in a high arc from his barrel after she had inserted the saber incorrectly. “I’ve never had the right touch with that game,” she revealed as she laughed. But today is also not about winning but about spending time with the whole family, going on a discovery tour, and having fun. Sabine Habermaass is delighted that so many families with big smiles on their faces found their way to Bad Rodach. It was a point of honor for her and the whole Habermaass family to get a taste of the action herself and also to help out. Right next to her, her husband and their children oversee the slackline, which is stretched between trees on the Wallgraben and on which children can balance. Her brother Volker Habermaass is outdoing himself fishing with children in a wading pool. Her sister Heike Habermaass was already on the go at the crack of dawn with a forklift truck bringing beer table covers to the game stations and is now on site anywhere where help is needed.

Already after two hours at the woodcarving stand, it was reported: “We need fresh supplies!” The ground is littered with wood chips. The children have already enthusiastically worked through all of the wooden figures. Fortunately it’s not far to the warehouse.

“You did a great job!” Harald Grosch praises four-year-old Lotta, who in a very short time tucked away a basket full of clothing and toys in a trolley during a game of packing suitcases. The CEO of the HABA Family of Companies, who recently became a grandfather for the first time, is very much in his element and helps out when a zipper jams.  Measured by the happy faces, the festival has been successful for him as well:  “It’s an anniversary and that motivates! I am in particular proud of so many committed employees, without whom there would not have been the play street and all the other good deeds!”

A few meters further on, families stand in line to nab giant eyeglasses and gaudy wigs from the box of disguises. A photo box has been set up and spits out instant pictures. “Three, two, one, stick out your tongue,” Gertraud Unger calls out, pressing the shutter. She is general manager of the Wehrfritz and project brands and is supervising the stand together with her husband. Both of them are clearly having a lot of fun on the job. Today it’s not difficult for the grown-ups to be a child again.

There’s more. The next bit of fun is waiting on every corner.  A giant blue mountain rises up suddenly in the middle of Steinerer Weg. An inflatable climbing tower! Eight-year-old Lena, secured by a rope, waves proudly to her parents from a dizzying height.

Her little brother Max, on the other hand, is waiting impatiently. Because in a few minutes the children’s songwriters Rodscha aus Kambodscha and Tom Palme are going to appear, who, as they say, have traveled specially from the jungle to come to Bad Rodach. Max is a big fan and today he is deliberately wearing his zebra pants. When the show starts, he jumps up and down with joy and sings along with the lines of each song.

“Go, go, go! You can do it!” The employees are cheering on the children during the baby doll carriage race on the Schlossplatz. Little by little, everyone comes together here. The children can pick up a little surprise: The children’s theater Mär is performing the play “Little Orchard” and Radio Eins is playing music.

Bad Rodach’s mayor Tobias Ehrlicher and his family also have been mingling with the visitors to the game street. Even if his nine-week-old daughter is still a little too young to participating in the games, the family is enjoying the festival: “What the HABA Company of Families is giving to the people of Bad Rodach and the region here today is a dream. I can only express my heartfelt thanks! And I’m already looking forward to the next anniversary,” says the new father.

The shade under the voluntary fire department’s huge stretched out parachute encourages visitors to linger. The aroma of baked fish, burgers and tarte flambée drifts over. Two-year-old Henry sits on his mom’s lap on one of the benches. He has in one had a self-crafted flower and with the other hand he is pointing to the large Kullerbü ball track. But no one sits still for long here. “The time is going so fast … ,” his mom says.

Indeed. It’s one of those days that you wish would never end …