at , 40545
The Largest Fair on the Rhine is a funfair in Düsseldorf, drawing more than 4 million visitors annually, is one of Germany’s biggest funfairs. It takes place every third week in July (2009 dates: July 18-26) on the left bank of the Rhine River, in the district Düsseldorf-Oberkassel, and features beer and food tents, amusement park rides, vendors, etc. as well as 9 days of various associated events and activities.Only three other German fairs get more visitors than Düsseldorf: Oktoberfest in Munich (6.7 million attendees in 2007), the Cranger Kirmes in Herne (4.5 million), and the Cannstatter Volksfest in Stuttgart (4.2 million).HistoryThe Largest Fair on the Rhine has its roots in an annual celebration in honor of:The city’s patron saint Apollinaris of RavennaThe sanctification of the “Basilika St. Lambertus”, the main catholic church in Düsseldorf’s Old Town (Altstadt). The celebration of both events took place first in 1435. At the time it was organized by the local St. Sebastianus shooting club around a traditional shooting competition (called Schützenfest – marksmen festival), a local annual tradition involving a wooden target on a pole, usually a representation of an eagle. In the 16th century, the fair was said to be an occasion for King Henry VIII” to introduce his future wife Anna van Kleve to the public.In 1910, the fair was moved to its present location, the fairgrounds on the left Rhine river bank in Düsseldorf’s district Oberkassel overlooking the city’s historic Old Town. Since then, the format and focus of the fair have changed significantly into the more secular and entertainment-oriented event it is today. Attendee numbers rose dramatically, and the event was stretched into 9 days. The name of the event developed in the 1970 simply into “Largest Fair on the Rhine” and has stuck since then. It is not only Germany’s fourth-largest fair but also one of the most important events for Düsseldorf’s economy.