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Leipzig Microfair

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Spring small trade fair 2006

The Leipziger Kleinmesse is a folk festival-like event in Leipzig. On the fairground Cottaweg rides and running rides, lottery and shooting booths, other attractions and culinary offers await the guests. The small fair takes place three times a year, each time for about a month: as a spring small fair (April/May), summer small fair (July/August) and autumn small fair (September/October). The event is organized by the Leipziger Schaustellerverein e. V.[1]

History

The Leipzig Small Fair can look back on a long tradition, which is closely linked to the history of the Leipzig Fair. From time immemorial, jugglers, showmen and other “travelling folk” came to the city at the time of the Leipzig Fair to entertain citizens and fair visitors. However, the city council made a point of ensuring that everyone moved on after the fair was over.[2]

With the growth of the Leipzig Fair, the importance of parallel offerings for the “little people” also increased. The small fair was established, which, in addition to amusements of various kinds, also had sales stands for everyday goods. This also attracted the population of the surrounding area to the city for entertainment and shopping. The small fair took place on the squares surrounding the city centre, such as Augustusplatz, Roßplatz, Königsplatz and Fleischerplatz. Due to increasing traffic, restrictions had to be accepted on these squares at the beginning of the 20th century.

The Meßplatz on a city map from 1914

In February 1905, the city councillors decided to move the small fair to outside the inner city. For this purpose, the so-called Meßplatz was built on the Ranstädter Viehweide in front of the Frankfurter Tor, the end of the development of the Frankfurter Straße. The square of 10.5 hectares was created by filling up the ground. Two gatehouses were built at the entrance and as further entrances bridges led over the old course of the river Elster at Sedanstraße (today Feuerbachstraße), Fregestraße and Auenstraße (today Hinrichsenstraße). The area offered space for about 1200 stalls and tents. Special attractions at the opening in 1907 included a mountain railway, several hippodromes, an automobile carousel, a bicycle track, athlete and dog theatres, and a diving ship. Among the flying dealers, the legendary Seiferts Oscar (1861-1932) did particularly well, later with his carousel “Seiferts Oscars Pracht-Auto-Corso”. Sometimes over 100,000 people visited the new small fair.[3]

During World War I, showmen displayed war events and war films were shown in cinemas on the square. From 1928 onwards, there were initial plans in the city administration to create a park and sports ground on the Meßplatz and Frankfurter Wiesen. In 1935, the National Socialists built a parade ground instead. The small fair was moved to the site still used today on Cottaweg in Lindenau, where a few years earlier the Kuhburger Wasser, a tributary of the Kleine Luppe, which runs through meadows, had been filled in. The fairground was initially located next to and behind the cycling track “Lindenauer Zement”, which was demolished in 1938/1939. For the Easter Fair in 1936, the operation started with 120 showmen and 700 sales booths as well as permanent buildings such as the Hafenschänke and Koch’s Tanzpalast.[3]

No small fair was held during World War II. A barracks camp for forced labourers stood on the site. After the site had been cleared, Leipzig’s first post-war small fair took place from 18 April 1946 with the attractions “Nuckelpinne”, bumper cars, “Waltz to the Moon”, “Raupe” and ghost trains.[4] From the 1950s onwards, the people’s own trade also took part with market stalls. In 1957, a large part of the square had to be given to VEB Kraftverkehr. But the popularity remained unbroken. In 1978, 600,000 people visited the small fairground.[5]

In 1990, the Leipziger Schaustellerverein e. V. was founded. As the current organiser, it introduced a third small fair season, the Winter Small Fair, in November from 1992. However, this took place for the last time in 2009.

Literature

Horst Riedel, Thomas Nabert (ed.): Stadtlexikon Leipzig von A bis Z. 1. Auflage. Pro Leipzig, Leipzig 2005, ISBN 3-936508-03-8, p. 207/208.

Web links

Commons: Small Leipzig Fair– Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references

  1. Leipzig Small Trade Fair.In: Website ofthe Schaustellervereins Leipzig e. V. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. Peter Schwarz: The thousand-year-old Leipzig. From its beginnings to the end of the 18th century. 1. Edition. Vol. 1. Pro Leipzig, Leipzig 2014, ISBN 978-3-945027-04-2, pp. 262/263.
  3. a b Peter Schwarz: The thousand-year-old Leipzig. From the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. 1. Edition. Vol. 2. Pro Leipzig, Leipzig 2014, ISBN 978-3-945027-05-9, pp. 586-588.
  4. Peter Schwarz: The thousand-year-old Leipzig. From the beginning of the 20th century to the present. 1. Edition. Volume 3. Pro Leipzig, Leipzig 2015, ISBN 978-3-945027-13-4, p. 157.
  5. Peter Schwarz: The thousand-year-old Leipzig. From the beginning of the 20th century to the present. 1. Edition. Pro Leipzig, Leipzig 2015 , ISBN 978-3-945027-13-4, p. 319.

Coordinates 51° 20′ 26″ N, 12° 20′ 35″ O