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Pützchens Markt 2016: All the fun of the fair amidst tightened security

Pützchens Markt 2016 : All the fun of the fair amidst tightened security

900,000 young and old alike revelled in the sun and fun at the 649th Pützchens Markt this weekend.

Nearly 900,000 people have so far braved the hot summer weather and visited the stalls and filled the coffers of the fairground families. Harald Borchert, who organises and oversees the fair for the city of Bonn said, “It is the best Pützchens Markt of all time.”

Beuel’s mayor, Guido Déus, was also full of praise saying that thanks to the efforts of the police and the Ordnungsamt, visitors to the fair could wander around with a clear feeling of security. The terrorist attacks in Germany and neighbouring countries in recent weeks and months mean the police and law enforcement agencies have adapted security measures to the current situation. The increased security measures include random searches of backpacks and bags and an explosives search of the Bayern tent by a team of dogs prior to visitors to Sunday’s festival mass being allowed in. Beuel’s police chief, Gerd Mainzer, said, “People should recognise us, but our presence should engender a feeling of security and not fear.”

There is something magical about the ambience of the big wheel and the Bayern tent, particularly in the evening. But what really draws people under the spell of the annual funfair? Is it the fast-paced fairground rides, the smell of toasted almonds or the stroll for two through the stalls? All of these for sure, but it is also the relaxed atmosphere created by the hustle and bustle of the fair. What really makes the Pütchens Markt is the ability to simply switch off for a few hours, meet nice people and to have a relaxed conversation while enjoying one or two cold beers.

A film team from the Rhineland Landschaftsverband (a regional association involved in culture, among other things) has been underway at the fairground for several days capturing what is special about the fair. The film will be a tribute to the Pütchens Markt and will be shown at next year’s 650th anniversary.

Certain keywords symbolise the Pütchens Markt for the people of Bonn and the region, such as tradition, bumper cars and gingerbread hearts. Some fairground families are also linked to the fair: names such as Barth, Kipp and Markmann.

The festival mass is also something special. Many of the more than 2000 in the congregation are regulars. Those in the Bayern tent on Sunday morning left with a lasting impression. After the final blessing, the whole tent, old and young, local or foreign, joined together to sing the Rhineland anthem “Stammbaum” by the Bläck Fööss at the tops of their voices.

Those wanting to visit the fair should think about how best to get there. The number of parking places has been reduced, making busses and trains the transport of choice for many. The number of cyclists has also increased and the city is providing bike parking racks in several places. However, the number of bike thefts has also increased, with Bonn’s First Mayor, Reinhard Limbach, a victim on Saturday night.

The fair runs until Tuesday September 13 when it wraps up with a firework display at 10pm. (Holger Willke; translated by Kate Carey)