basel messe

Fall is a time like no other in Basel…

The air is brisk, the shops and cafes turn cozy, everything starts to smell like cinnamon, and you get that distinct 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 544th festival runs from Saturday, 24 October, to Sunday, 8 November—all around the city!

The two-week Herbstmesse (Herbschtmäss) begins with the official ringing in at noon, kicking off a cultural rendezvous that is a combination of tradition, art, and just plain fun. The fair’s unique layout stretches the festivities throughout the city, and there are plenty of stands to explore all kinds of handmade crafts, clothing, toys, and more. You can find rides no matter where you go—spinning, whirling “chairoplanes,” ‘Super Chaos’ at Kasernenareal, or ‘Sky Flyer’ in its first ever appearance at Barfüsserplatz. Or you can celebrate the ‘Super 80s’ at Hallenmesse am Riehenring with ‘Round-Up’ or ‘Break-Dance.’

The giant Ferris wheel at Münsterplatz reaches all the way to the rooftops of Basel’s historical buildings—giving an incredible panoramic view of the city and the Rhein River—and is a Münsterplatz must (at least once!)

Photo by Artandkitchen.wordpress.com

Another major part of any festival in Basel is the cuisine. A few all-time favourites are Magenbrot, a unique Swiss chocolatey gingerbread, and hot Rosekiechli, delicious flower-shaped fried pastries sprinkled with powdered sugar. You’ll also find chocolate-dipped fruit kebabs with all kinds of fresh fruit—pineapple, bananas, strawberries, and more.

jeffreyKeep an eye out for Jeffrey’s schnitzel stand (started by the owner of the very popular Jeffrey’s Thai Restaurant in Riehenring), which sells gourmet sandwiches back where it all began.

More highlights are the Hääfelimäärt at Petersplatz, showcasing beautiful ceramics in unlimited shapes, colours, and sizes; the Basler Weinmesse (24 October to 1 November) at the Messe Basel, featuring around 5000 wines from more than 20 countries all over the world; the Basler Feinmesse (29 October to 1 November) for sweet and savoury treats; and the Herbstwarenmesse (October 24 to 1 November), 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 Herbschtmäss 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 some fall fun!

Festival Hours

Basler HerbstmesseSunday – Thursday: 12.00 – 22.00
Friday – Saturday: 12.00 – 23.00

Stop by www.visitbasel.ch for more info, or find Basler Herbstmesse on Facebook at facebook.com/baslerherbstmesse.

*As always with fairs, keep your children and other valuables close! Check out Ask Heidi: A Question of Pickpockets.

Feature Photo by eLjeProks via Flickr

Muba 2011 © Muba.ch
Muba 2011 © Muba.ch
Have you ever wished there was a place you could go in Basel where you could find everything?

Well there is—and it isn’t a department store.

With commodities like furniture, toys, jewellery, and clothing, to services such as fitness for seniors and the Swiss Red Cross, to cultural exhibitions on sport, music, and exotic destinations, the Muba 2012 (Mustermesse Basel) is on this month, 13 to 22 April at the Messeplatz Basel. 

What Is It?

A trade fair open to everyone, the Muba is an invitation to experience all that Basel is and does, within its national borders and beyond. Virtually every store and organization in the city participates. With around 800 shops and numerous exhibitions and showcases, no matter what your passion, you’re sure to find it here. You can purchase a new dining set, watch a fashion show or cooking show, see ‘Landart’ artists create sculptures out of wood, iron, and stone, get a free spring check-up at the Swiss Red Cross health clinic, cheer for Europe’s top electricians as they compete in the European Championships, meet Mister and Miss Nordwestschweiz, take in a few rides at the Lunapark—the list is endless. Here you’ll see the best of the best…and maybe some things you may have never even heard of before.

But it isn’t just about shopping or consumerism—culture, education, and awareness come to the forefront of the fair. Just one example is the ‘Behindertenforum’, where different organizations for disabilities provide video presentations, lessons in sign language, and other opportunities to understand the challenges faced every day by those with disabilities and how they overcome them.

The churches of Basel are coming together with a ‘mubakirchgarten’ at the ‘Älter werden – aktiv bleiben’ display (Stand B22) to give visitors a many-sided look at the Evangelical Reformed, Roman Catholic and Christ Catholic churches in the city. Guests can join in on daily topics such as ‘Faith, Love, and Hope’ and ‘Spirituality and Culture,’ as well as a variety of music, including children’s choir and Gospel choir, and a special Sunday service on 22 April, 10.00 at the Muba Rundhof.

Beyond the Borders

Every year the Muba also features a ‘Gastland,’ and East meets West as this year’s guest is ‘India: an experience for all the senses.’ Travellers to the ‘guest land’ can explore India’s diverse and colourful heritage through music and dance, cuisine, handmade goods, tourism, and much more.

You’ll also find this year’s ‘Gaststadt’ or ‘Guest city’—Zürich. And if you’ve been in Basel very long, you’ll know that more separates Basel and Zürich than a one-hour train ride. Embracing the long-standing rivalry between the two cities, poets from Basel and Zürich will perform daily for the ‘Poetry Slam,’ touching on what makes these two towns so different…or alike. But which city comes out on top? Maybe the bet is most conclusively settled at the Water Bar, where you can sample drinking water from both places and decide for yourself which tastes best!

More highlights this year include autograph signing by team members of FC Basel (plus a live broadcast of FC Basel vs. FC Sion), an exhibit to celebrate the 70th birthday of legendary footballer Karl Odermatt, and the twoo bicycle expo.

What About Tickets?

Tickets are affordable, ranging from free for students to CHF 32.– for a MubaCard lasting the whole ten days. They are available at the event, and some such as the Tageskarte (Day Card) are available online. You can find out more about pricing here at www.muba.ch/de-CH/FuerBesucher/AllgemeineInfos/Eintrittspreise.aspx. Also, if you bought a ‘Blaggedde’ for Fasnacht this year, you can bring it to to the first day of the fair (13 April) and show it at the Box Office for a free Tageskarte. No Blaggedde? You can also gain free entrance on opening day if you bring a Ragusa chocolate bar.

Don’t forget to stop by the website for more info, or find them on Facebook, where you can enter a Muba Wettbewerb (sweepstakes). And in true Swiss style, stay up to date via iPhone with the Muba App: the latest on exhibitions, products and featured events, an exhibitor and product search, restaurant list, discount offers, chat function, schedule of daily activities, news feed, and more.

Starting Friday, you can expect the city and the trams to be packed! Why not jump on the number 2 or 6 to Messeplatz and see what it’s all about?