Die Cranger Kirmes - The Funfair of Crange
The “Cranger Kirmes” in Herne, right in the heart of the Ruhr area, is one of the biggest funfairs in Germany. It always starts on the first Friday in August, and in the course of the ten days it traditionally lasts, attracts some four million visitors to the fairground site in its lovely location beside the Rhine-Herne Canal. And clearly, the best overview of the event can be obtained from the big wheel, which lifts its visitors to a height of 60 metres into the air.
When exactly the Cranger Kirmes was born is not now known. However, some time in the 15th century, it became the custom for a horse fair to be held around St. Lawrence’s Day (10 August) in Crange, which now forms part of the city of Herne. The horse dealers were soon joined by jugglers, dancers, magicians and fortune tellers - laying the foundations for the funfair of today.
With the industrialization and the growth of mining in the Ruhr area, the Cranger Kirmes also grew from year to year. Today, next to the Oktoberfest in Munich, it is the second-biggest event for the funfair business.
In the Ruhr area, the showmen feel a special sense of closeness of the local people to “their” fair. When work starts in July on setting up the rides and stalls on the 111,000 square metre site by the canal, crowds of people come to watch every day. By the time everything is ready, around 500 showmen will be presenting their attractions and wares – and visitors who want to see everything will have to walk a distance of no less than five kilometres. So a single visit is usually far from enough!
For the people of Herne themselves, the Cranger Kirmes is a major event: It counts as a “5th season”, has absolute cult status and is firmly anchored in public life in the city and the region.
So make sure to: Piel op no Crange! - Come to the Fair!
More information and directions here.