Tag Archives: whitsun

All the fun of the Whitsun fair

Every Whitsun our little town holds its Schützen und Heimatfest. The Schützen are the societies of local militias, who in former times would have protected the village from marauding invaders. These days they shoot for sport and drink a lot. And dress up in uniforms which frankly make some tin-pot dictators look rather modest. In these parts, a man’s worth depends on the amount of brocade on his jacket and the size of the shaving brush on his hat, you see.

Like in all good militias, our local ones all bestow copious ranks and titles on their members. During the festival, every house has flags, banners, crepe-paper flowers and bunting on display in the colours of their own militia group. The officers also display their ranks outside their homes.

The local car park has been transformed into a fairground for the weekend.

Depending on which group of Schützen you belong to you can end up pulling the chicks…

…or finding other fish to fry…

Speaking of Fish and Chips… we always have the local version at the Whitsun Fair. The only thing we have to bring along ourselves is the Sarsons Malt Vinegar… which we transport in a miniature whisky bottle. The locals do look at us a bit oddly when we appear to douse our chips in whisky, but they normally just put it down to British eccentricity.

While the kids go on the rides…

…we old folks pop into the beer tent or have a go on the horse-racing game… (did I say or ? Sorry… I meant and.)

Once it starts to get dark, the scene of the action moves on. The militias emerge from their marquees and parade to the sound of the marching bands across to the local park… followed by all the officers and local dignitaries.

Military insignia and posh frocks are the order of the day… I’ve seen less-decorated Christmas trees…

The fair ends on the Tuesday after Whitsun with a musical firework display in the park.

Big chorus of Oooooooh!! Aaaaaaah!! everyone!


Filed under About Germany, German festivals, Life in Germany

Fish and chips at the fairground

I already mentioned that Whitsun in Meerbusch is not complete without a trip to the fair.

Apart from all the rides, it’s fun to browse the wonderfully kitschy stalls, with their strange array of things to eat…. popcorn, candy floss, toffee apples, lebkuchen-hearts…

Of course there’s one stall which we Brits always make a beeline for. The Backfischbude. This is the one place and time when you can get proper English-style Fish ‘n’ Chips in Germany.

The only secret the the Germans haven’t discovered about Fish ‘n’ Chips (nobody breathe a word, OK) is you need to add proper malt vinegar. This is impossible to find in German supermarkets. We import it ourselves from Britain.

So on Saturday, we went along for our Fish ‘n’ Chips with a secret stash of our precious malt vinegar carefully decanted into a miniature whisky bottle.

As we sat down to enjoy the feast, we did get some odd looks from Germans as we all appeared to pour a generous measure of Scotch onto our fish… in fact I could almost hear the clunk of jaws dropping when not only we adults but also our children followed suit.

Finally, I have to share with you this couple of slot machines I found lurking over near the dodgems. They don’t make ’em like that any more!


Filed under food, German festivals, Life in Germany

All the fun of the fair…

This coming weekend is the annual Whitsun fair in Meerbusch. A chance for kids and adults alike to consume a diet of alcohol, fat, sugar, chemical additives and then go on rides which are guaranteed to have you splattering the fairground with vomit from a great height.

It’s an excellent opportunity for you to feed your children the sort of nutrician-free goodies which will make them hyperactive all night – thus ensuring you can stay and boogie in the beer-tent until dawn.

Hyperactivity guaranteed!

For our family the highlight of the weekend will be when we all get together on the horseracing game. This involves trying to roll a wooden ball into holes in a board. If you manage it, your horse will move forward by another one, two or three leaps. The winner of the race is awarded a cuddly toy to add to the burgeoning collection of Whit-fair animals which every child in Meerbusch possesses.


Filed under German festivals, Life in Germany