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Festivals & Events

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Carnations
© Kozzi
Mums work hard to make life better. For their families, their friends and colleagues, for all of us. Through good times and bad, and all the times in between, they’re always there for us — the sleepless nights and long days, the school plays, the constant encouragement and home-cooked meals, the love and bandages for bruises and broken hearts. Words are never enough, Mum, to say thank you for all that you are and do. And on Mother’s Day, it’s all about you.

If you’re lucky enough to celebrate with your mum in Basel, here are a few ideas of what you can do to show her how much she means to you…

Nothing says “I love you” like an all-out Sunday Brunch! There are a few places in Basel that offer just that:

The Hotel Les Trois Rois, famed for its delectable (but pricey) high teas and Sunday brunches, is hosting a special Mother’s Day Brunch this year from noon to 15:00. You’ll make your mother feel like royalty for a day in this lush setting by the Rhein River. Stop by the website for details and to make a reservation: Les Trois Rois.

ZicZac. Known for its laid back “rock ‘n’ roll” atmosphere, live music, and parties, ZicZac in Allschwil is another popular Sunday brunch destination. You’ll find a variety of 99 specialties of all kinds spread across long tables — fresh fruit and juices, breads and cheeses, pastries and puddings. It’s more affordable than Les Trois Rois, and easy to get to by Tram 6 or Bus 36/34– right on the corner at the stop “Morgartenring.”

Restaurant Löwenzorn in old town Basel is a unique and well-loved restaurant for all occasions, traditional in decor and contemporary in cuisine. With some of its buildings going back to the 1300s, you’ll be stepping into the romance of another generation. Dine inside or out, in their picturesque courtyard.

Muttertags Matinee

If you opt for an early Sunday breakfast, you’ll be able to catch a Sunday matinee — the “Muttertagskonzert” at the Stadtcasino Basel, where the Zurich Chamber Orchestra is performing masterpieces from Mozart and Haydn. Click here for details and tickets.

Wherever you are, the most important thing is being together — to slow down for a little while and take a break from the busyness of life to celebrate the things that really matter, the people who really matter.

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.” ~Robert Browning

Happy Mother’s Day!

Lällechönig
Flickr.com // © Noel Reynolds
It’s an experience like no other. Baslers and visitors agree, you either love it or hate it, but rarely anything in between. No, no, for better or worse, the Basler Fasnacht is something you’ll never forget.

I experienced it for the first time at fiftenn years old. I remember setting my alarm for the middle of a freezing February night. I wake up, catching the last few speeches of the Academy Awards as I layer in long johns, jeans, and sweaters. My sister cracks open the front windows, and already carnival-goers are streaming down our street.

We throw on our coats (with our ‘Blaggede’ pins buttoned on top to avoid being attacked by confetti!) and begin the trek toward Marktplatz, only a few blocks from our apartment — very helpful, since the tram and bus lines are packed. It’s cold, but somehow in the excitement of a citywide, midnight party with friends and strangers alike, Basel feels like it’s on fire.

And then waiting in the city centre, just as your hands and feet start to go numb, suddenly everything goes pitch black. It’s 4:00 a.m., Morgestraich, and Fasnacht has begun. It’s half dream, half nightmare as the insomnia, anticipation, and costumes all combine to create something at once wonderful and terrifying.

The music starts, at first distant and strange, and then louder and louder as the musicians come marching through the streets in all shapes and sizes with their colourful costumes and giant, oversized masks — some happy, some sad, anywhere from crazy, to cranky, to euphoric. The resounding boom of the drum and the shriek of the flutes echo off the cobblestones, and off the Rathaus and stone columns as the figures make their way through the streets, led by carnival floats and medieval-looking lanterns. And as the noise resonates around the city and Basel is engulfed in music and laughter, you find your friends and retreat to the nearest restaurant to warm yourself up with some traditional ‘Mahlsuppe’ (flour soup).

If you make it to Morgestraich this year, you’ll see that this is just the beginning. From 4:00 a.m. Monday to 4:00 a.m. Thursday, Basel is transformed. Work comes to a halt. And in the days that follow, you’ll find an endless celebration with unexpected parades, music, and mysterious masked carnival-goers throwing confetti and oranges.

You’ll run into people you know, and others you didn’t even know you knew. You’ll be out in the sun, and out in the rain, and up in the dark, and all the while walking on a growing carpet of coloured confetti. You’ll hear the traditional “Guggemusik,” bands playing a variety of both traditional and pop music…one of the few places on earth will you catch a rendition of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” performed with trombone and tuba. You’ll see sheets of traditional Swiss rhymes and poetry littering the street. There will be humor and friends, and memories, and crowds and inconveniences, and of course, pickpockets. But you’ll never see anything like it anywhere else.

I still think about that very first Morgestraich. Everyone in town got sick after three straight days of carnival, but no one cared. And I’ll never forget that night. Now, when even our Swiss friends say they’ve never been to ‘Morgestraich’, we tell them they have to go at least once. With family and friends, it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Morgestraich is at 4:00 a.m., February 18, 2013. Visit fasnachts-comite.ch for more tips, do’s and dont’s, a route map for the processions, and much more!

Click here fore more info from Basel Community about Fasnacht in Basel and its surroundings.

Switzerland has become one of the world’s top romantic destinations. With the gorgeous Swiss alps, ski-retreats, and all the coziness of a warm fire that Switzerland’s cold winters afford, it’s no wonder lovers from all over the world are flocking to this beautiful country.

And to the beautiful city of Basel. So what is Basel doing for Valentine’s Day?

The city is full of romantic restaurants, all celebrating with their own unique Valentine’s menus (you can see a list of our favourites here!). The famed hotel and restaurant Les Trois Rois overlooking the Rhein is offering a special Valentine’s Day meal in their Brasserie, complete with five-course menu and surprise aperitif. (CHF 135 per person. For reservations, call +41 61 260 50 02. Also special this year is the observance of an age-old Basler tradition: this Valentine’s Day, the Thursday before Fasnacht, the three kings at the hotel’s entrance will be dressed as “Waggis,” heralding the Fasnacht season!)

And of course, no one can deny the simple romance of a traditional fondue dinner. Here is a fun list of “Fon-dos” and “Fon-Don’ts” from world-renowned fromagers Emmi of Switzerland: globenewswire.com/news-release/2012/02/06/467244/244904/en/Valentine-s-Day-Etiquette-Fondue-and-Fon-don-t-Tips-From-Emmi-of-Switzerland.html.

“Fon-do”

Variety is the spice of life! Be creative and serve a wide variety of dippables. Crusty bread, fresh fruit and veggies, boiled shrimp, marshmallows and cookies are all wonderful in fondue. Just be sure everything is prepared ahead in bite-size pieces.

Mix it up! Fondue is the perfect appetizer, main course or dessert. If you want to start with chocolate and end with cheese, it’s up to you!

Swiss Kiss! It is tradition when eating fondue, to kiss the person to your right if you drop your bread in the cheese. (It’s ok to do it on purpose…)

“Fon-Don’t”

Don’t forget to stir. As the night keeps moving, be sure to keep your fondue moving. Stir it up to so your cheese or chocolate fondue remains smooth.

Don’t double dip. Every fork- or skewer-full should contain a new, unbitten morsel. (If a piece falls in the fondue, see fon-do tip #3 above!)

Don’t hide any surprises. While fondue offers a lot of interactive eating enjoyment, it is not a good place to stash an engagement ring or other surprise gifts for your sweetie.

Maybe surprise gifts are better left for the cake…how about a decadent chocolate cake or cupcakes layered with Toblerone chocolate icing? If you feel like being adventurous, you can try out a recipe for Toblerone frosting here!

One of the unique and often challenging things about Basel is that for many it is not a permanent home — it is a stopping place for travellers, for the workers and adventurers and gypsies among us. Many expats in Basel are on temporary work assignments, or are away from loved ones and friends during the holidays. What do you do if you can’t be with that special someone on Valentine’s Day?

The good news is that in today’s high-tech world, it’s almost impossible to be disconnected. If you have apps like FaceTime on your mobile phone, your sweetheart will love seeing the Rhein River and Markplatz, and all the sights and sounds around Basel. You could make it a memorable Valentine’s Day with a virtual tour of the city, or a romantic Skype dinner at home. Technology now lets us be more creative than ever before.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? We’d love to hear about it!

Looking for a fun way to ring in the New Year in Basel? Called ‘Silvester’ in Switzerland, there are plenty of events and places to celebrate: bars, restaurants, clubs…and, of course, private parties!

But if you find everything booked out, are looking for some company, or just want to try something new this year, you could join the many by the Rhein for Basel’s official public New Year’s Bash and watch the region’s most spectacular New Year’s fireworks display.

The festivities begin at 23:00 hrs with free ‘Glühwein’ served until 01:00 at two locations: Café Spitz (Mittlere Brücke in Kleinbasel) and Cargo Bar (Johanniterbrücke). Fireworks start at 00:30 hrs.

For another authentic Basel celebration, bring your family and friends (and your favorite bubbly!) to Münsterplatz. The Münster (Cathedral) has its own tradition beginning at 23:30 when you can hear a lively brass ensemble perform from the towers. Standing and listening to the trumpets, you’ll be transported back to medieval times!

And then there’s the big moment — the official ‘ringing in’. The large bell at the Münster’s Martinsturm (St. Martin’s Tower) rings out the old year from 23:45 to 23:55. At 00:00, the city sounds off as all the church bells in Basel ring together in playful New Year’s mayhem.

For those interested in ringing in the new year in a very special way, there is a worship service at the Münster from 00:15 to 00:30 hrs.

If you’re planning on using Basel’s fantastic public transportation system, you can find out when the last tram leaves for your destination at the official BVB website: http://www.bvb.ch/en/timetable-network/online-timetable.

Note to New Year’s Party-goers: Please remember there are pickpockets around, and many who want to take advantage of happy tourists!

It may be the time of year for making resolutions or revising old ones, for remembering the past or looking ahead to the future. But most of all, it’s a time to celebrate!

Have a safe and very happy New Year!

The Fair // Flickr.com © jrodmanjr
The Fair // Flickr.com © jrodmanjr
Fall is a time like no other for everyone in Basel…the air is brisk, the shops and cafes turn cozy, everything starts to smell like cinnamon, and you get that special feeling that Christmas is just around the corner. And in this atmosphere begins the Basler Herbstmesse, the annual fall festival that draws around one million locals and visitors from all over the world. The oldest fun fair in Switzerland, this year’s 542nd messe runs from 27 October until 11 November at hotspots around the city, and until November 13 at Petersplatz. 

From the official ringing in to the ringing out at St Martinsturm, the Basel Herbstmesse (Herbschtmäss) creates a cultural rendezvous that is both artistic and fun. The fair’s unique layout stretches the festivities throughout the city, and there are plenty of stands to explore, selling all sorts of handmade crafts, clothing, toys, and more. You can find rides no matter where you go—whether the spinning, whirling “chairoplanes”, the pit-in-your-stomach drop from the sky on this year’s brand new Freefall Tower at Messeplatz, or the ‘Beach Jumper’ at Barfüsserplatz. The giant Ferris wheel at Münsterplatz (one of the biggest mobile Ferris wheels in Europe) reaches the rooftops of Basel’s historical buildings and is a Münsterplatz must (at least once!), showcasing a fantastic panoramic view of the city and the Rhein River.

Another major part of any festival in Basel is the refreshments. Baslers look forward every year to Magenbrot, a distinct Swiss chocolatey gingerbread, and hot Rosekiechli, delicious flower-shaped fried pastries sprinkled with powdered sugar. Another favourite is chocolate-dipped fruit kebabs, with pineapple, bananas, strawberries, and crunchy sesame seeds. Keep your eye out too for Jeffrey’s refreshment stand (started by the owner of the very popular Jeffrey’s Thai Restaurant in Riehenring), which sells gourmet schnitzel sandwiches, back where it all began.

More highlights this year include an expanded Hääfelimäärt at Petersplatz, which showcases all kinds of beautiful ceramics in unlimited shapes, colours, and sizes. Wine lovers won’t want to miss the Basler Weinmesse from 27 October to 4 November at the Messe Basel, featuring around 5000 wines from more than 200 producers. The Messe is also home to Basel’s Herbstwarenmesse, with special deals on products from household goods to electronics to sports. And as the Herbstmesse changes from year to year, you never know what else you might find.

Wherever you are in Basel, you’ll notice that the Herbstmesse is a magnet for bringing together people of all ages to enjoy, to experience, and to make memories. Bring your friends, make some new ones, or bundle up your kids and take your family out for two weeks of fun! 

Stop by the official website at www.basel.ch/en/kultur/jahreshighlights/basler-herbstmesse-2012.htm for a complete guide to stands, rides, maps, and more.

*As always with fairs, keep your children and other valuables close!

With the summer officially drawing to a close, it’s a cool time of year to be ACTIVE! This week, Basel kicks off the Basel-Dreiland Mobilitätswoche (Mobility Week), dedicated to just about everything on wheels. From the Basel-Dreiland slowUP on 16 September, to the start of the Manor Run to the Beat Basel Marathon on 23 September, it’s an all-out celebration of mobility in the modern world.

Car-less and Care-free

slowUPLeave your car at home and grab your bike, inline skates, or favourite walking shoes for the slowUP Basel-Dreiland http://www.basel-dreiland.ch/ (click here for info in English: http://www.basel.ch/en/highlights?act=detail&id=11783), a fantastically fun 60-kilometre course that runs through Basel, Northwest Switzerland, Alsace, and Southern Baden—three lands in one day. It’s also conveniently divided into three separate legs of 20 kilometres each, so participants can customise their own courses. Festival areas and local restaurants and clubs along the way provide refreshment and a place to catch up with friends and meet some new ones too!

Mobilitätswoche

And that’s just Day One. Each day of Mobitätswoche brings something unique, exploring forms of transportation both old and new—the WAVE (World Advanced Vehicle Expedition) electric vehicle rally from Italy to Holland that passes right through Basel, a night ride on E-Bikes, Monday Skate Night, the one-of-a-kind StreetStepper tour, panoramic tours of Basel on Tram Lines 15/16, special walking routes for pedestrians, and more…you can even try out the Vaxi (Velo + Taxi), a fully-functioning three-wheeler that will take you anywhere you want to go in the city. Curious? So are we! Get the full list of events and times here: http://www.mobilitaet.bs.ch/mobilitaetswoche2012.

Run to the Beat

Run to the BeatAnd when Mobility Week ends, the Marathon begins. Marking its 3rd year this Sunday, 23 September, the Manor Run to the Beat Basel is a city-wide marathon based on proven studies that runners perform better to music. Live bands are set up at different key points along the course, and each year a special guest performs a blockbuster concert the night before. Following in the footsteps of Swiss superstars Myron, who took the stage last year, 2007 MusicStar winner Fabienne Louves will be performing a free concert this year at Barfüsserplatz on Saturday, 22 September.

Want a preview of the marathon beats? You can download the official Run to the Beat song here: http://www.manorbaselmarathon.ch/de/rttb/en/entertainment/song.html—or order the Run to the Beat Album online: http://www.manorbaselmarathon.ch/de/rttb/en/entertainment/album.html.

Don’t miss this entire week of fun in the great outdoors! What better way to ring in the fall season? 

Here are a few things you might want to know about…

SlowUP
-SlowUP takes place from 10 to 17 hrs. Entrance is free for all ages and you can join whenever you wish along the route. 
-As you will be passing over different borders, don’t forget to bring your passport/ID! 
-You can download a map of the full course here: http://www.basel-dreiland.ch/fr/downloads/slowUp_Route_2012.pdf.
-For those not participating, don’t forget some routes may be closed and tram schedules rearranged on the day of. You can find out more info on the BVB official website: http://www.bvb.ch/en/news/current-info/2012/09/11/test.

Manor Run to the Beat Basel Marathon
-Registration is still open online, and you can register Saturday and Sunday at the event for no added charge. 
-Fees for the marathon are based on how which course you choose—full marathon, half, Ekiden, or 1/6 Marathon. Click here for details: http://www.manorbaselmarathon.ch/rttb/en/rttb/categories.html

28 August–2 September 2012

Musical Theater
Feldbergstrasse 151, 4058 Basel
20:00 Hrs

For the first time at the Musical Theater in Basel, a fascinating dream world created by shadows! After their first sold-out tour of Germany, the American dance company Pilobolus returns to Europe.

About Pilobolus:

Pilobolus is a modern performance company, founded in 1971, that to this day wears its revolutionary stripes on its sleeves. In keeping with its fundamentally collective creative process, Pilobolus Dance Theatre now curates and convenes groups of diverse artists—including the MIT Distributed Robotics Laboratory, Art Spiegelman, OK Go, Radiolab, and many others—to make inventive, athletic, witty, collaborative performance works on stage and screen using the human body as a medium for expression. Pilobolus makes art to build community. It teaches its group-based creative process to performers and non-dancers alike through popular, unique educational projects and programs. This collection of activities is called the Pilobolus Institute. Pilobolus also applies its method of creative invention to a wide range of movement services for film, advertising, publishing, commercial clients, and corporate events. This division is called Pilobolus Creative Services. The 2012 season marks Pilobolus’s 41st year. In keeping with the energy and spirit of its biological namesake—a phototropic fungus that thrives in farmyards—the company has continued to grow toward the light, expanding and refining its unique methods of collective creative production to assemble a repertoire of over 100 choreographic works. While it has become a stable and influential force in the world of dance, Pilobolus remains as protean as ever, looking forward to the next 40 years of collaborating on the future.

http://blog.pilobolus.org | http://www.pilobolus.com

1 Aug © lazybone83 // Flickr.com
1 Aug © lazybone83 // Flickr.com

It’s the largest celebration every year in Switzerland, a party no one living in Switzerland should miss—Swiss National Day, August 1.

The holiday—inspired by the Federal Charter Day, set in early August—is a massive celebration attended by up to 120,000 people in the city center. The festivities start at 5pm of July 31st and continue until 2am of August 1, ringing in the holiday with food, music, drinks, memories with good friends, and a spectacular fireworks display.

The National Day observance was moved up to July 31 in 1993, and after this it has only continued to grow into the celebration that it is today.

The ‘Bundesfeier’ firework display takes place at 11pm, and fireworks are set off from two boats in the middle of the Rhein on either side of the Mittlere Brücke.

The trams and buses will run up till the end of the festivities, so be sure to check out their schedule at: www.bvb.ch/aktuell/aktuelle-infos/2012/07/24/bundesfeier-am-rhein-2012.

So take the night off, grab some friends, and enjoy the colour, lights, and noise of Switzerland’s National Day.

Undoubtedly, one of the most fun things Basel does in the summer is the concert series on the barge set up on the Rhein every July/August, ImFluss. The concerts host bands and musical groups from all over the world, as well as in the past some local favourites including Sina, Basel’s own Lovebugs, and many others.

It’s a colourful and fun evening out, hosted right by the Mittlerebrücke on the Cafe Spitz side of the water. With a wide variety of acts and genres, you’ll never know exactly what kind of music to expect, but you can preview the series on their website at imfluss.ch/index.php/programm.

And of course there are drinks and food, as well as a small VIP lounge for special guests, royalty, and those who can generally sweet-talk their way in. Try to come ahead of the start time, though, as the crowd can get pretty massive (even on the rainy days!)—make sure to save a spot early if you’d like to get one on the steps of the Rhein or somewhere near the front.

Concerts usually run from 21h to 22h Tuesday through Saturday, and 20.30h to 22h on Monday. The concerts kick off on 24 July.

Here is a clip from the Lovebugs’ performance at ImFluss last year…

Photo credit: Imfluss

It’s summer in Basel again—those long hours of daylight, holidays, spending time catching up with friends, and enjoying the weather, whether rain or shine!

One of the many fun ways in downtown Basel to pass the evening with friends is relaxing by the beautiful Rhein river, and from 28 June till 1 September, you can do that at Chill am Rhy—”Chill by the Rhein”—from 5pm until 1am. With two bars set up on either end of the Basler Rheinufer in the area just underneath the Münster, Chill am Rhy offers cold beer, a selection of cocktails and wines, and a choice of gourmet pasta dishes.

The area is set up with an assortment of colourful chairs and benches; lanterns and white canopies; and purple, blue, red, and green lights which reflect on the water and light up the area for everyone to see.

If you haven’t stopped by, make sure to plan a night out with friends before the season ends.

For more information, visit: www.chillamrhy.ch.