The Germans love their festivals and with good reason! We never lived near Munich during our residence in Germany so Okoberfest is something that we never really frequented. We lived way up in the North in a small city called Bremen. There is a fest that they hold in Bremen each October, it's similar to a state fair in America, for the last two weeks of the month. And in the years that we lived in Bremen, I believe we only missed going one time due to our travels. And now that we are living in Spain and knowing that we are only a two hour flight away, the kids expressed their strong desire to visit the Freimarkt this October.
All the years that I lived in the states while my three oldest kids were growing up, we rarely ever attended the state fair. It was expensive for one, but the safety issues were always a concern and I never really seen a need to go. However, living abroad for so many years has opened my views in a new way, including taking kids to the fair or what we call the Freimarkt in Bremen.
Here in Bremen, to go to the Freimarkt is tradition. It's almost unheard of, if you live in Bremen not to make a yearly visit to the Freimarkt. But putting that aside, there are great reasons to spend the day together as a family at the fair or Freimarkt.
There's the history aspect of how and why a fair started. Here's a little history about the Bremen Freimarkt... The Bremen Freimarkt was first held in 1035 and is one of the oldest fairs in Germany. With more than four million visitors each year, it is also considered to be the biggest festival in Northern Germany. It is celebrated for 17 days in the last two weeks of October, somewhat extended from Friday to Sunday. The area covers approximately 100,000 square meters on two areas: the so-called "Kleiner Freimarkt" (Small Free Fair) on the market square, and the main area at the "Bürgerweide" adjacent to the Main Station and the Exhibition Center. On 16 October 1035 Emperor Conrad II gave the "fair justice" to the city of Bremen. In the first centuries it was a free market for one day on 9 October. A showman with a carousel appeared for the first time in 1809.
Spending the day at a fair gives ample opportunity for kids to overcome fears or weakness. I personally do not like rides that spin up high in the air. And I have NEVER been on a roller coaster, at least one that loops! Our kids each have different challenges when it comes to rides and crowds. One doesn't like rides that are too high. Another won't ride rides that are too fast. And one of our kids hate crowds. But over the years that we have attended The Freimarkt, we have seen progress with each child in overcoming their fears! Last year, our son that refuses to ride roller coasters decided he was going to overcome his fears! Without pressure he jumped in line and with each step that took him closer to the coaster his courage grew. Before we knew it, he was whizzing down the tracks with his mouth wide open as he screamed in anticipation! But afterwards, he came to us with accomplishment in his eyes and victory in his voice!
Because fairs are usually very expensive and the more kids you have the more it ends up costing, we always set limits. We make a budget as to how much can be spent per person and they are given the free choice as to what rides or games they want to do as long as it fits into their budget. This teaches them how to manage the budget they are given. But also grants them the liberty to choose and gives clear limits knowing that they can't run The Bank of Mom and Dad dry!
Family fun time-
A fair is a great place to spend time as a family. We walk together from ride to ride exercising patience as we wait on one another until the ride is over. We play, eat, laugh and even dance together while enjoying The Freimarkt. Our family makes it a point to stay strong as one unit, one family. And being at The Freimarkt is no exception!
Gluhwein is a German specialty drink cooked in big pots...
It's a mixture of red wine, adding sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, anise and orange zest. It's served piping hot.
The Freimarkt only comes to Bremen once a year. So, we choose a day and head out to the city center and make the most of the time we have together!
That's what family is all about, right??!!
What are some things that you love to do as a family?
With Love and Blessings,
Robin and David
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