All Saints' Day Fair Soest
All Saints' Day Fair (Allerheiligenkirmes) in the beautiful town of Soest has been hailed as Europe's largest old-town fair. Get ready for hopping on exhilarating funfair rides and tasting delicious regional specialities and German beer.
Europe's largest old-town fair
Funfairs usually take place in the outskirts of town, such as Hamburg DOM in Hamburg, Canstatter Folk Festival in Stuttgart or the Biggest Funfair on the Rhine in Düsseldorf. But not the All Saints' Day Fair! This one takes place right in the heart of the old town of Soest.
Soest, in North Rhine-Westphalia, is a gorgeous little town which has existed for over 1.000 years. It is lined with well-preserved half-timbered buildings that appear to have been virtually untouched by the passage of time. It's a town of 50.000 inhabitants, but, impressively, All Saints' Day Fair attracts 1 million visitors!
Covering an area of 50.000 square metres, the funfair consists of high-tech funfair rides like rollercoasters, twisters, chair-o-planes, fun houses, a Ferris wheel and lots of arcade games. Imagine yourself in a maze of bright lights and fast-moving funfair rides with laughter and shrieks of glee all around. Many of the attractions were specifically devised for children, so it's the perfect event to visit with the whole family.
All the excitement of the funfair rides is enough to work up a hunger and thirst, and visitors won't be disappointed by the amazing German food, not to mention the local speciality drink known as the Bull's Eye (Bullenaugen), consisting of a coffee liqueur with a dollop of cream.
Photo: © Gero Silwa
The origins of the All Saints' Day Fair
Like many funfairs in Germany, the All Saints' Day Fair has a religious origin, one of many religious festivals in Germany that later turned into a secular event. The German word for funfair (Kirmes) originally meant church mass. The main church in the town centre, St. Petri, was consecrated on All Saints' Day Fair, an important church holiday back then, and this called for a large celebration each year on the same date.
These festivals in early November each year attracted large crowds that were entertained by jesters, puppeteers and tightrope walkers. Meanwhile, merchants and farmers came to trade horses, animal hides and other farming paraphernalia. It was an occasion for forging business relations in this Hanseatic town. The horse market still takes place on the Thursday of All Saints' Day Fair.
Photo: © Gero Silwa
View a scale model of the All Saints' Day Fair
During the fair, visitors have the opportunity to view the largest mobile model fair exhibition in the world! The exhibition will be hosted in the Patroklus House next to the Wilhelm Morgner Museum. Feast your eyes on the brilliantly crafted scale mode, which depicts around 30 funfair rides on a scale of 1:87. The colourful world of the fair is complemented by intricate details and typical festive scenes surrounding the funfair rides.
The model fair is open daily from 11am to 6pm on fair days. Admission is only 1,50 euros, so what are you waiting for?
Plan your visit to All Saints' Day Fair
Plan a fantastic day out at All Saints' Day Fair in Soest! Check the fair plan for this year on the All Saints' Day Fair event page. The festival is easily accessible via car, public transportation or even bicycle. However, it is important to note that there is a limited number of car and bus parking spaces since the festival takes place in the centre of town.
Thumb photo: © Gero Silwa