The celebrant seems lost in all the hustle and bustle.

Framed by refrigerated trucks and the "Hamburger Fischkate", which offers matjes, coalfish schnitzel and Bismarck herring, the monument to the city's most famous son, which is decorated with a wreath to celebrate the day, stands where it always stands: on Gutenbergplatz, which is named after the famous Mainzer .

But on his day of honor, Johannes Gutenberg once again seems to have been marginalized.

Only those who accidentally discover the bronze figure from 1837 placed on a Lahn marble base - by the way: a work by the Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen - between all the beer tables and benches have the opportunity to take the right selfie for the festival.

Markus Schug

Correspondent Rhein-Main-Süd.

  • Follow I follow

Everyone else, and that will probably be most of the tens of thousands of visitors during the four days of partying that will last until Monday evening, shouldn't really know what it's all about.

Since 1968, St. John's Eve has regularly commemorated the death, meanwhile 554 years ago, of the busy and inventive printer who was voted Man of the Millennium by American journalists a quarter of a century ago.

Nevertheless, there was only one place in the second row for “Guddi” in his hometown at the weekend.

Hidden behind toilet van

It is not much different with the Gutenberg Museum on Liebfrauenplatz, which the people of Mainz like to self-confidently praise as the “World Museum of Printing Art”, which is getting on in years and is now supposed to be about to set off into the future.

Unfortunately, none of this was to be seen during the long St. John's Eve party.

Hidden behind toilet wagons, the building ensemble slated for demolition is difficult to discover for non-experts anyway.

No advertising banner had been raised to attract potentially interested guests.

To where it all began: to the printing presses and movable type, which from the 15th century onwards ensured the mass dissemination of information, which amounted to a media revolution.

However, there was little enthusiasm around the museum on Saturday: no stands in the inner courtyard, no colorful children's program and no outdoor printing demonstrations - which has worked better in previous years.

One looked in vain for drafts and sketches of how the intended new museum building could be designed.

For this, the Mainz head of culture, Marianne Grosse (SPD), presented herself and the new museum director Ulf Sölter, who has only been in office since the beginning of April, on the nearby Liebfrauenplatz.

And hey presto

In fact, during the usually somewhat lengthy public baptism of printers, young typesetters, graphic artists and media designers are plunged into a refreshing bath of water to rid them of lead dust and printer's ink - and at the same time wash away the sins of their apprenticeship.

A spectacle that, for better visibility, could also be broadcast live and larger on a screen using a few cameras.

Pre-cleaned by the sponge holder

In addition to the new head of the museum, Oliver Valentin was the second celebrity to be grabbed by the packers, pre-cleaned by the sponge holder and finally dunked deep into the water bath.

The event expert has long been one of the organizers of St. John's Night, which around 400,000 visitors came to the city center every year before Corona.

It was full again this time, as the view of the never-ending queues in front of the toilets, which were obviously far too small, showed.

According to the police, it was pretty peaceful until Sunday afternoon, so that only a few lost children had to be “captured” and some well-known criminals had to be sent off.

From the rainy Friday onwards, the artists on the stages, i.e. on the Schillerplatz, the Bischofsplatz and the Liebfrauenplatz, provided the "fun uff de Gass".

In addition, there were a few walking acts who let their kites spit fire in the middle of Ludwigsstraße.

One could almost think that these fantasy figures had escaped from one of the book cases that could be found at the stands of the most loyal Gutenberg disciples: at the small but still fine Johannisnacht book market.