Every November some one million punters flock to Soest for Europe’s biggest inner-city funfair, where there’s something for everyone.
For five days, November 2-6, the centre of the medieval town of Soest (45-minute drive west of Paderborn) is sealed off and some 42 amusement rides and 400 stalls are set up in the pedestrian areas, covering some 50,000 square metres.
It’s quite an experience to enjoy the fair in the heart of such an historic city, surrounded by half-timbered buildings and narrow streets.
The annual Allerheiligenkirmes (All Saints’ Day Fair), now in its 679th year, turns the city on its head for five days. People celebrate in the street – and in guest houses and pubs until the early hours.
Beside the vast array of rides – such as the giant looping ride, which takes two days to set up, haunted houses and laser shows – there will be more than a dozen children’s carousels alone.
Also on offer will be plenty of stands serving food and drink, and traders selling everything from T-shirts to pottery and jewellery.
Top attractions this year include Fuzzys Lachsaloon (funny western saloon), which is 14 metres high, a roller-coaster, castle of horrors, aqua labyrinth, a Bavarian festival tent, a horse market and dozens of others, and all the fun is within easy reach of many BFG barracks.
As Soest’s town centre is cordoned off to traffic during the kirmes, you are advised to park your vehicle at a park and ride, or in one of the many park garages, which will stay open late.
Wednesday, November 2: 2pm – The Mayor of Soest opens the Allerheiligenkirmes;
3pm-1am – Kirmes in the town centre.
Thursday, November 3: 8am-1pm – Cattle and farmers’ market, and competitions. Takes
place between the train station and Osthofentor;
10am-1am – Kirmes in the town centre
Friday, November 4:1pm-1am – Kirmes in the town centre;
8pm – Firework display
Saturday, November 5: 10am-1am – Kirmes in the town centre
Sunday, November 6: 11am-midnight – Kirmes in the town centre
An FV606 Saracen Armoured Personnel Carrier, used by medical regiments as an armoured ambulance, has been painstakingly restored and now stands in Dempsey Barracks as 1 Armoured Medical Regiment’s gate guardian.
Maj A’Lee unveiled the Saracen, which was in service between 1954 and 1985, and highlighted how it represents the first time the medical regiment has had the chance to mark their position at the Barracks with a guardian since their relocation from Hohne Garrison.
But Roger and Jane Johnson did not muck about – indeed they were ‘pig-headedly’ determined to bring over their 20 stone pot-bellied pet from the UK and house it in their married quarter.
Their efforts were far from ham-fisted, though, as eventually they got all the relevant authorities to grant permission.
Now the loveable swine is regularly seen being taken for walks around the Army estate, and the couple are happy for Pumba to hog all the attention.
Roger, a WO2 with HQ BFG Health Services, said: “She has bags of personality. She loves to go out for a walk but doesn’t go far, just to the field at the end of the road."
The famous television personality will be teaching a masterclass of modern jazz and lyrical dance next week, followed by a demonstration of choreography from the television show and a question, answer and photo session. The session will be aimed at all children over the age of three.