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8 traditional Swiss fairs not to miss this year

Sandra Sparrowhawk
Sandra Sparrowhawk - [email protected]
8 traditional Swiss fairs not to miss this year
Chilbis are an integral part of Swiss culture. Photo by Edwin Soto

While autumn is the official season for fairs – or Chilbis – in the German-speaking part of Switzerland, in some places you can join in on the tradition as early as this month. We compiled 10 of the best fairs to visit this year.

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Fairs – or Chilbis as they are called in Swiss-German – have been an integral part of Swiss culture for decades. The word Chilbi goes back to the Old Alemannic word ‘kilchwîhi’ which eventually evolved to ‘Kirchweihe’ (church fair).

The fair was usually held to celebrate the annual recurrence of the day of the consecration of a church.

While today’s modern Chilbis have largely moved away from their religious background, they are still a beloved part of Swiss culture and attract many visitors from their host village and neighbouring towns every year.

Bümplizer Chilbi

The first Bümplizer-Chilbi was held in 1948 and several successful sponsorships later, such as by the city of Bern, Radio Bern1, Migros Commitment, and even Mercedes-Benz, it attracts visitors from across Switzerland every year.

This year, the Chilbi will be visited by the Luna Park, a travelling amusement park in Switzerland, alongside a number of musical acts including Fribi & Band, Boris Bittel, Masciuli, and Schnulze & Schultze.

The programme starts at 5pm on August 18th with the last musical performance scheduled for 6pm on August 20th.

Chilbi Wetzikon

If you’re in the canton of Zurich you will not regret dropping by the Chilbi Wetzikon, which is not only Zurich’s largest but is also said to be one of Switzerland’s finest.

The Chilbi features over 40 rides (for children and adults), gambling booths, more than 100 market stalls as well as 10 different pubs.

Additional perk: on Chilbi Monday, children can enjoy all rides for free from 1pm to 1.30pm.

This year, Wetzikon is hosting its Chilbi between August 18th (evening kick-off) until 11pm on August 21st.

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Chilbi Wädenswil

Those who enjoy a fun day out with a view or simply fancy another Chilbi round after their Wetzikon stint, can catch a 40min train ride to Wädenswil, which is hosting a Chilbi just a week later.

The Chilbi Wädenswil is the largest Chilbi on the left bank of Lake Zurich and offers visitors a relaxing ferris wheel ride overlooking the lake from August 2pm on August 26th before closing around 10pm on August 28th.

This year, the Chilbi features three new rides – LA SAUTERELLE, SCORPION, and TAKE-OFF - in addition to its usual 11 additional attractions, 16 shooting and games booths, 84 market and sales stands, as well as 13 pubs.

READ MORE: 8 quirky festivals you should visit to feel really Swiss

Chilbi Kappel

Though the Chilbi Kappel, based in the canton of Solothurn, is usually in the shadow of its more popular neighbour Olten (whose Chilbi has come and gone), it is worthy of a shoutout.

If you’re looking to mix with locals in a more intimate setting, then this Chilbi, which takes place on September 2nd and 3rd, is a solid choice. This modest Chilbi features all the rides and food options without the crowds.

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Lachner Chilbi

Based in the canton of Schwyz on Lake Zurich’s shores, the Lachner Chilbi is traditionally held on the first weekend in September. This year this falls on September 2nd until the 5th.

Visitors will be able to enjoy music while snacking on roasted almonds and taking in the scenery – both at the lake and in the village centre.

Urdorf Chilbi

The Urdorf Chilbi traditionally takes place every year on the second weekend after the Federal Day of Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer, which takes place on September 17th this year.

The Urdorf Chilbi mainly attracts – and has for three decades - visitors from the town itself as well as its neighbouring communities.

At the municipality’s Chilbi you can browse around 25 market stalls offering baked treats, local specialties, and handmade crafts alongside a flea market and usual rides.

The Chilbi will kick off at 6pm on September 29th and last until 9pm on October 1st.

Siebner Märt

Just like Urdorf, the Siebner Märt, based in the village of Siebnen in the canton of Schwyz, waits a week until after Switzerland’s Thanksgiving Day to host its festivities.

The Chilbi will feature numerous rides and market stalls and will open on 9am on September 24th and last until 10pm on September 26th.

Birsfelden Chilbi

Birsfelden is the place to be for Chilbigoers from the canton of Basel-Country. The municipality will be hosting its annual Chilbi from 5pm on September 29th until 6pm on October 1st.

The Chilbi will have a range of amenities on site to make sure visitors have the time of their lives: from shooting ranges to carousels, and cosy pubs to food stalls featuring delicious national and international – such as Hungarian – dishes.

The Chilbi is also a great place to network as its pubs are mostly run by the municiaplity’s clubs (Verein).

READ MORE: Why joining a club in Switzerland offers a fast track to integration

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