(Above) Schueberfouer 2019; (below) Laurent Schwaller (centre), head of the VdL Department of Public Spaces, Festivals and Markets, at the VdL Schueberfouer 2019 press conference; Credit: Jazmin Campbell

This month will see the long-awaited return of Luxembourg’s largest funfair, the Schueberfouer, after a two-year COVID-19-related break.

Founded back in 1340 by John the Blind, this popular annual event has only ever been cancelled during the two world wars and, more recently, during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2020, the Schueberfouer was cancelled completely amid the health crisis, whilst a "Fun um Glacis" reduced-format outdoor event replaced the traditional funfair last summer.

Now, with restrictions lifted, the Schueberfouer is set to return in its traditional format to Glacis car park in Luxembourg-Limpertsberg from Friday 19 August to Wednesday 7 September 2022. Visitors can discover a total of 223 attractions and stands, including (for the first time) the world’s largest travelling ghost train: Daemonium.

With the opening of the Schueberfouer fast approaching, Chronicle.lu reached out to Laurent Schwaller, who is in charge of the Department of Public Spaces, Festivals and Markets (Service Espace publics, fêtes et marchés - EFM) of the City of Luxembourg (Ville de Luxembourg – VdL), the organisers of this event, to learn more about what to expect this year, what goes on behind the scenes in terms of organising such an event and the impact the organisers hope the Schueberfouer will have on the public after a two-year hiatus.

Regarding the number and variety of attractions and stands present at the Schuberfoeuer, Laurent Schwaller explained that the total number of attractions depends on both the surface area of the Glacis site – "unfortunately, there we are limited", he noted – and the particular focus of the event in a given year. "For example, when the focus is on a big rollercoaster (as for example in 2019 with the 'Alpina Bahn'), there is less space available for 'smaller' rides or stands", he elaborated. However, there are normally between 220 and 230 attractions and stands in total.

As for whether the organisers specifically target attractions from Luxembourg and the Greater Region, Mr Schwaller explained that showmen (fair operators) from any country can apply for a spot at the Schueberfouer. This year, for example, there is even one showman from Australia. "After the deadline for applying ends, we analyse every application and according to our rating system, the applications with the most points are selected", detailed Mr Schwaller, adding that the organisers "always try to respect the balance" between rides (children- and family-friendly rides but also thrill rides), catering options (seated, take-away, sweet and salty food), games (shooting galleries, duck fishing, etc.) and the street vendors ("camelots") on Allée Scheffer.

Mr Schwaller went on to emphasise that it is the mix of returning and new attractions that makes the Schueberfouer a success. Regarding this year's highlights, he explained that the focus in terms of rides this time had been "to get a huge ghost train, which we managed to achieve with the Daemonium". He expressed his hope that the various other new rides such as Parkour, Ghost Rider and Gravity, as well as returners like Top Spin, Hexentanz and Wild Mouse, would impress visitors to the Schueberfouer this year. He also highlighted the return of classic rides like the bumper cars, the big wheel, Break Dance, Bayern Kurve and Shaker's, as well as the arrival of a new children's ride, Bootsfahrt, and a new stand specialising in French fries (chips) with different sauces, called Gourmet Hütt'n. Another newcomer this year is a stand selling socks, including those with the Schueberfouer design, on Allée Scheffer.

When asked about the role of the national federation of showmen (Fédération Nationale des Commerçants Forains – FNCF) and how the EFM and the FNCF work together in the context of the Schueberfouer, Laurent Schwaller described the FNCF as "an important partner", with whom the EFM works throughout the year on various events involving showmen. "We meet on a regular basis, brief and debrief", he noted. "For the Schueberfouer, we organise the 'Buergermeeschterdag' [mayors’ day] or the 'Kinniginendag' [queens’ day] together, as well as the press conference of the FNCF, the 'Lämmy-Spill' [a competition featuring the official Schueberfouer mascot, Lämmy], etc.". Mr Schwaller added that the FNCF was also an important partner in terms of marketing and advertising.

Looking back at the "Fun um Glacis" event organised in late summer 2022, Mr Schwaller recalled that it had received a lot of positive feedback from the public: "The feedback for 'Fun um Glacis' was overwhelming and exceeded our expectations". He continued: "As already experienced at the spring events we organised this year, the public is there again and so we expect a very good Schueberfouer because people want to go out again, to amuse themselves and to just simply enjoy life, and that's just what the Schueberfouer is all about!"

Last but not least, when asked how the organising team felt about the return of the Schueberfouer after two years, Laurent Schwaller confirmed: "We are so happy that we can organise a Schueberfouer again. We waited now two years for that! And we hope that this year's edition we composed will make the two past years forgotten and that it will please the public!"

The Schueberfouer will officially open on Friday 19 August 2022 at 17:00. The various attractions and stands will be open every day (until Wednesday 7 September 2022) from 12:00 to 01:00, with food establishments having the possibility of opening their doors from 11:00.