This weekend the carnival at Maientage closes down for good. This will be the last edition inside the park which has suffered too much the last few years and needs some biological restoration to heal. Photographer Maximilian Blank has collected some magical impressions of this special place that some people love while other people hate.
I love places in Berlin that reflect its diversity. Hasenheide in its natural state is already one of them. You could see Turkish weddings next to art students drawing, and gay nudists making out with each other only being 50 meters apart. During the month of May, this diversity gets even amplified through the Maientage Carnival.
If you haven’t heard about it you probably are not using Instagram. This year it felt like everybody was posting constantly about this place. Maybe also because it is the last edition of the carnival at Hasenheide. The park has suffered too much in the last few years because of the hot summers and the droughts (and also the heavy partying during the pandemic summers with closed clubs and giant hoards of Berliners looking for a place to rave). So the city is shutting down this tradition that has lasted for nearly 57 years now.
This year’s edition has been in the press since the beginning because of a deadly knife attack that happened here. Also, the idea of the carnival itself is a bit outdated in some ways. It creates a lot of trash and also for the people working in this kind of business their lives are hard and not sustainable. Still, the Maientage have been loved this year with more enthusiasm than usual. Maybe it was kind of the “end of the pandemic” feeling that many people shared. Or somehow the nostalgic vibe got the Berliners enchanted. Even those that usually feel way too cool for this sort of thing.
We felt that in the photography of Maximilian Blank this strange and ambivalent magic was captured perfectly. This Sunday is the last day of the carnival. So if you can and if it’s not too full go and enjoy it. And if you can’t make it: Don’t worry. The city is debating whether to bring the festival to Tempelhofer Feld. So this might not be the last one for the city but only the last one in Hasenheide.