Crange Fair in Herne
A fair on a grand scale in the Ruhr Area
Formerly a small horse fair, now the largest folk festival in NRW: More than 500 fairground entertainers put on a grand show at this fair in the heart of the Ruhr Area
The scale of the Cranger Kirmes (Crange Fair) is impressive. Every year at the start of August, over 500 fairground entertainers set up their rides, stands and stalls on a site with an area of 111,000 m2. Visitors who really want to see and experience everything would have to walk a total distance of five kilometres – not a realistic feat in the space of a single day.
A repeat visit is well worthwhile not just for the huge choice of attractions on offer, but also for the chance to try Europe’s largest transportable log flume ride, a 50-metre-high Ferris wheel, and many other rides which often get their debut at the Crange Fair.
Four million annual visitors
It is no surprise that around four million visitors flock to Herne in the Ruhr Area every summer to experience all the fun of the fair, which takes place for ten whole days by the banks of the Rhine-Herne Canal.
The Crange Fair may be organised on a vast scale nowadays, but its origins were much more modest. It started off as a horse fair, gradually developing into a funfair from the 15th century. This was where the wild horses rounded up from the Emscherbruch marsh were sold at market.
Tradition: Horse fair
The “Emscherbruch thick-headed horses”, as they were known locally, were considered by buyers to be particularly tough and tenacious. The horse fair increased in popularity and soon evolved into a more colourful event.
The horse dealers were joined by jesters, dancers, conjurers, magicians, fortune-tellers, entertainers and carnival workers, and the visitors came to include people with no interest in buying a horse. The wild horses are now a thing of the past – the last equine from Emscherbruch was sold in Crange around 150 years ago.
After that, the funfair gained in popularity, and the population explosion that accompanied the industrial and mining revolution in the Ruhr Area also led to larger visitor numbers at the Crange Fair.
Largest folk festival in NRW
In keeping with tradition, the Crange Fair still kicks off with a horse fair today. But there is no denying that the highlight remains the colourful collection of rides. The largest folk festival in North Rhine-Westphalia is unrivalled when it comes to the number of rides and funhouses on offer.
Just as well appreciated by visitors young and old are the hot-dog and roasted almond stands, the gambling stalls and shooting galleries and much more besides.
Dates: 4 to 13 August 2023