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A fair (also fair or amusement , in Switzerland often Chilbi ) since the Middle Ages a several-day market , which takes place in a city once a year. Today the term is also used for other non-independent markets, the use of the terms amusement park and folk festival being common. This is mostly due to the fact that over time a fair has changed into a folk festival.


The word "fair" expresses that they usually only take place once a year. Fairs are therefore often on a holy day or the feast of in highly revered saints held so such as Easter - Pentecost - or Christmas markets or the Annafest . There are still a few seasonal or product-related fairs, such as wood , horse or wine markets .

In Germany, the fair has been subject to the trade regulations (GewO) since 1869 and, in accordance with Section 68 (2) GewO, is a subspecies of the market trade as “a generally regularly recurring, time-limited event at which a large number of vendors offer goods of all kinds for sale . ”Likewise, according to Section 68 (3) GewO,“ activities within the meaning of Section 60b (1) GewO can also be carried out at a fair , "that is, entertaining activities corresponding to a folk festival .


A bath at a French fair (17th century)

In the Middle Ages , annual fairs were one of the most important events in the cities that became politically independent . The necessary right to hold a fair was usually given by the emperor , king , count or other sovereign to a place - often within the framework of city ​​law (see also market law ). The Magdeburg Autumn Fair (formerly Gentlemen's Fair), which has been documented since 1010, is one of the oldest such popular festivals in Germany . The Archbishop of Magdeburg Tagino introduced this fair to commemorate the alleged martyrdom of a Roman legionary troop.

Economically, the fair was significant because he fed not only from the surrounding farming communities with livestock and agricultural products and the local dealers, even of but remote merchants visited and thus the local (municipal) crafts opened a sales opportunity, so this from wage work to Preiswerk pass and allowed local specializations (cloth, pottery and forged goods, etc.). He also increased the circulation of money and the spread of the local currency . He set the economic multiplier regionally in motion - especially since his visitors spent a long time at the market place and left part of their profits there in hostels , shops, etc.

The fair also had a social function: it was used to exchange news and rumors from distant areas, thus increasing the knowledge of the world among its visitors. Court dates and executions were scheduled for him, and special religious events were often held.

At the fairs often traveled showman of Moving people to: bear trainers , jugglers , fortune tellers , quack , musicians , incidentally cutpurse . A fair was therefore also an opportunity for amusements, such as the performances of traveling menageries , and Tingeltangel , whereby this aspect predominates in the fair that still exists today, whereas the trade in goods has receded. Some fairs developed into flea markets or flea markets, where not only new goods but also second and third hand goods are offered.

Determination according to the trade regulations

At the request of the organizer a carnival in accordance with § 68 para. 2 GewO can in conjunction with § 69 GewO set are. This must be requested from the local regulatory or trade office . The documents to be submitted are an application, information on the exhibition, a site plan, a provisional list of exhibitors, an extract from the central trade register and a certificate of good conduct for submission to an authority. The stipulation is subject to a fee and can be combined with a special usage fee, which is based on the square meter area of ​​the stands. On the basis of a decision , the provider enjoys market freedom .


  • Florian Dering: Popular amusements. A richly pictorial cultural history of the driving, amusement and skill deals of the showmen from the eighteenth century to the present. Nördlingen 1986, ISBN 3-89190-005-8
  • Alfred Lehmann: Between show booths and carousels . A stroll through fairs and festivals. Schöps, Frankfurt am Main 1952.
  • Sacha-Roger Szabo: Intoxication and hype. Attractions at fairs and amusement parks. A sociological cultural history . Bielefeld 2006. ISBN 3-89942-566-9 .
  • Stefan Nagel: Show stalls . History and manifestations. 15 PDF online documents. Münster 2000–2011 www.schaubuden.de
  • Max Stoop: A colorful fairground over the decades . With a sideways glance at related things. Gut, Stäfa 2005, ISBN 978-3-85717-167-3 .
  • Rüdiger Johannkemper: Fair rhetoric . In: European University Writings . Series I - "German Language and Literature". tape 1735 . Lang, 1999, ISBN 3-631-34971-8 , ISSN  0721-3301 .

See also

Web links

Commons : Carnival  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Fun fair  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Heiko Kreft, Heimatkunde: Alles über Sachsen-Anhalt , Volume 2, 2012, o. P.
  2. Full text of the trade regulations - PDF file, accessed on November 9, 2018