Monday, October 29, 2012
The Bremer Freimarkt (Free Fair) — historically one of the oldest fairs in Germany — has its greatest event with the Free Fair Procession “Freimarktsumzug”; this year’s Freimarktsumzug took place Saturday.
The procession started Saturday morning on the opposite side of the river Weser in the “Neustadt” and passed the city hall about one hour later. 146 colorfully decorated groups were taking part, some of them dancing to their own music, and were watched by about 200.000 people in the streets during more than four hours of the whole performance. The event could also be viewed on television and on livestream on the web.
The Free Fair opened on the place behind the main station of the city of Bremen a week ago. The origin of this popular event can be traced back to the year 1035. Nowadays it has been called the “biggest Fairground Festival in northern Germany”.
For a few years, an historical spectacle involving actors of the theatre group Shakespeare Company has been part of the opening performance of the fair. With a replica of an old cog an ambassador enters the banks of the river Weser close to the city and walks with his companions to the market place in front of the city hall of Bremen where the Kleiner Freimarkt (Small Free Fair) is opened. Members of the Chimney Sweep Guild hang up a big heart at the statue of Roland as a sign of the opened market. The traditional opening takes place in the Bavarian tent on the Bürgerweide behind the main station of Bremen with the tapping of the first keg by the incumbent Senator of the Interior of the Free Hansetown of Bremen. This is followed by the dance with Miss Free Market on the stage. Late at night, also fireworks are lighted over the place Bürgerweide and can be admired by people. The exclamation Ischa Freimaak (It’s Free Fair) is meant to spread a relaxed and unreserved atmosphere among the guests.
The fair is a major source of revenue for showmen, carousels and food stalls, some of which arrived nearly two weeks before the opening from all over Germany. This year the Freimarkt is to last until Sunday November 4. The subsequent disassembly, especially the technically complex rides, should then take about ten days.
Large portable Ferris wheel Image: Online Team www.ekd.de.
Free Fair Procession in the City of Bremen 2009 on its way from the Neustadt Image: House1630.
Fairground Festival at night Image: Tobi85.
The monastery’s oxen were used in a procession during the Free Fair in the nineteenth century Image: Lithography by Friedrich Wilhelm Kohl, 1845.
Reconstruction of the cog “Roland von Bremen” Image: Eva K..
Free Fair Procession Saturday on its way to the the main station Image: House1630.