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Fun Fair with imperial blessing

Ferris wheel, ghost trains, candy floss, roller coasters and a lot more than that – for two weeks every year, life in Basel’s city centre is dominated by the annual autumn fair.

By Christian Rieder

A number of children and adults had specifically marked 24 October in their calendars some time ago – and exactly at 12 noon that day the bells were ringing to announce the beginning of Basel’s autumn fair. Until 8. November – on Petersplatz even until 10 November – you can smell garrapinyades (sugar-coated almonds), candy floss and fried sausages, the brave are catapulted into the autumn sky, and merchants are praising their household wares, with admirable eloquence at an impressive volume.

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Mässmogge”, specially created for and always associated with Basel’s autumn fair

The first autumn fair took place in 1471, with the blessing of the then German emperor Friedrich III. And the tradition of the opening day goes back to those years. Until 1924 the autumn fair opened on 27 October and went on until St. Martin’s day (11 November). For practical reasons the date of the fair’s opening was set to the last Saturday before 30 October.

However, Basel’s autumn fair is more than just a fun fair; thanks to its history dating back more than 540 years, it is part and parcel of the city’s cultural heritage. As a traditional inner city fair that is spread over various squares of the city’s territory and differing from one square to the other, it caters to everybody’s tastes and likes, whether young or old.

Herbstmesse_01

Describing Basel’s autumn fair is about as difficult as describing the ins and outs of Basel’s “Fasnacht” (carnival). However, for each and everyone in Basel it is a very special time of the year, full of indulgence, fascination and many childhood memories

Translated to English and proofread by Martin Pütter & Andi Curran

Opening times at the various squares
(24 October to 8 November, unless otherwise noted)

Petersplatz:
until 10 November 2015
Samstag, 24 October 2015: 12 noon – 8pm
All other days: 11 am – 8pm

Barfüsserplatz:
12 noon – 10pm (Friday and Saturday 11pm)

Münsterplatz:
12 noon – 10pm (Friday and Saturday 11pm)

Kasernenareal:
12 noon – 10pm (Friday and Saturday 11pm)

Rosentalanlage:
Saturday, 24 October: 12 noon – 11pm
All other days: 11 am – 10 pm
(Friday and Saturday 11pm)

Messeplatz:
Saturday, 24 October: 12 noon – 11pm
All other days: 11 am – 10 pm
(Friday and Saturday 11pm)

Halle 3:
Saturday, 24 October: 12 noon – 11pm
All other days: 11 am – 10 pm
(Friday and Saturday 11pm)

Autumn goods fair, Halle 2:
Until 1. November
All days: 11 am – 7 pm

Wine fair, Halle 2:
Until 1. November
All days: 3 pm – 9pm
(except Sunday: 12 noon – 7 pm)

Fine fair, Halle 2:
29 October – 1 November
All days: 3pm – 9 pm
(except Sunday: 12 noon – 7 pm)

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