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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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Fairs bridge cultural gaps

Who never went to a fair? Everyone knows the atmosphere: waiting in lines for the rides, the smell of hot dogs, tacos and fries and artists who show their work.

When I think at the word ?fair? the first thing that comes through my mind is Wilbasen. Wilbasen, or Wilbaser Markt, is a 570?year old fair, which takes place annually in my hometown of Blomberg, Germany.

Even being a little different, the atmosphere at German and American fairs is the same. The differences result in the history. Two kinds of old costumes influenced today?s fairs in Germany.

In the Middle Ages, Kings gave the right to hold a ?Jahrmarkt? to a town. These markets took place only once a year (Jahr means year). The markets were important for the citizens. Chandlers, entertainers and visitors came from far away and spend their money in the towns.

The second influence comes from a Christian background. A fair, called ?Kirchweihe? (Kircheweihe means church anniversary), was hold to inaugurate a new church.

Many fairs in Germany are still influenced by the old forms of the fair. In the early beginnings Wilbasen was a cattle market, where farmers traded with animals, and celebrated the weddings of their daughters.

At Wilbasen is still an animal market one Monday in September. Having no school, this is the fall highlight for Blomberg?s students.

Children love visiting the animal market. They are allowed to pet animals and many argue their parents into getting a pet. I remember when my mom allowed me to buy a guinea pig on Wilbasen, six years ago. I had not planed to buy one but when I saw all these cute little pets I could not overcome the temptation to buy one.

However, a German fair contains often just a carnival. I was really surprised when people told me about animal and art competitions, live horse races, concerts and educational tours for school groups at the Big Fresno Fair in October.

That makes it interesting for everyone and besides the fun side there is a cultural part as well. But having more attractions, the Big Fresno Fair is much more expensive as German fairs where you do not have to pay for entrance fees.

The last little difference I noticed is that in Germany roasted almonds are replacing the traditional cinnamon rolls at the Big Fresno Fair.

I loved visiting the Fair for the chalk drawing competition. It was a new experience for me and it would be interesting to have attractions like this at German fairs.

Julia Schnur is a campus German exchange student for the entire 2005/06 school year. She will return to Germany at the end of May 2006.

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