With around 4 to 4.5 million visitors, the Cranger Kirmes is one of the largest public festivals in Germany. Larger is the Oktoberfest in Munich. However, this festival is much longer. In terms of visitors per day, the Cranger Kirmes is even the biggest folk festival in Germany. The big party in Herne, in the middle of the Ruhr area, is only 10 days long. So on average there are at least 400,000 visitors per day, on weekends and sunny days even much more.
The most important facts at a glance
Crange is a district of Herne. The nearest major railway station is Wanne-Eickel station. Wanne-Eickel used to be a separate town, but since 1975 it has been part of Herne. The fairground is directly on the Rhine-Herne Canal.
The Cranger Kirmes (church fair) is always in the first half of August, in the middle of summer and at holiday time. It lasts 10 days, from Friday to Sunday. The first day is the first Friday in August. In 2017, the festival already starts on Thursday, so it is 11 days long.
Compared to other folk festivals of this kind, there are comparatively fewer beer tents at the festival in Herne-Crange. There is only one large beer tent, but many smaller bars. The focus is on rides for adults and children. It is more of a family festival, and of course there is also a lot of drinking, especially in the evening. As usual in the Ruhr area, not only beer, but often a schnapps as well.
Our tip: Brewery tour through Düsseldorf with free beer (Altbier): More info and online booking
Almost every operator of a large and modern fairground ride in Germany wants to be part of the high-turnover Cranger Kirmes. So every year there are several new attractions to admire, such as roller coasters, drop towers and other wonders of technology.
At the big fair in Herne in the central Ruhr area, the Infinity looping carousel was one of the highlights for us in 2017. At 65 metres, it is the largest carousel of its kind in the world. We also loved the Olympia Looping roller coaster at the Cranger Kirmes, which is 38.5 metres high and the largest transportable 5-seater looping coaster on earth. It is the biggest roller coaster we have ever seen.
A completely different attraction at the big funfair in the Ruhr region in 2017 is the brand new View Tower. At a height of 80 metres, visitors can enjoy food and drink while enjoying a gigantic view over the largest fair in the region.
Passengers can reach a very high speed in the Apollo 13, a so-called giant booster in which you can enjoy almost weightlessness for a moment. A completely different attraction at the Cranger Kirmes 2017 is the U3000 diving simulator.
These are just a few examples of rides at the Krimes 2017. In total, there were at least 50 large rides. Among them are also some for children, such as the classic chain carousel for the smaller kids or the ghost train for the somewhat older offspring. In addition, there are many smaller attractions such as shooting galleries, goal wall shooting, etc.
We lived in Munich for a long time and therefore know the Oktoberfest very well. In terms of rides, we think the Cranger Kirmes in Herne is ahead. It is the focal point of the largest fair in the Ruhr region. Beer tents and the like are much more plentiful at the Wiesn in Munich.
Drinks and food
In 2017 there is a new central festival tent called “Glück auf Crange”. The name is reminiscent of the mining tradition in the Ruhr area, “Glück auf” is the greeting of the miners in the region. Otherwise, there are many smaller stands at the Cranger Kirmes selling beer, schnapps and, of course, non-alcoholic drinks.
In hundreds of snack bars you can get just about anything, from the typical curry sausage from the Ruhr area to noodles from China. A special feature of the Cranger Kirmes that we really liked are the backyards. The courtyards of some normal apartment blocks in the area are converted into small beer gardens for the 10 days of the funfair. The atmosphere is particularly good here and you quickly come into contact with locals.
Classification of the Cranger Kirmes
There are some statistics on the largest folk festivals in Germany. In all of them, the Oktoberfest in Munich is in the lead with about 6 to 6.5 million visitors. It is usually followed by the Cranger Kirmes and its big competitor in NRW, the Rheinkirmes in Düsseldorf, in second and third place. Both have about 4 million visitors. The Cannstatter Wasn in Stuttgart and the DOM in Hamburg also have not much fewer guests.
If you compare the folk festival in Cranger with the Oktoberfest Munich, you have to bear one thing in mind: the party in Munich lasts at least 15 days, the big festival in the Pott only 10 days. The number of guests per day is similar. So to the daytime visitor, both festivals seem about the same size. Seen in this light, the Cranger Kirmes can certainly hold its own against the world-famous Oktoberfest.
Prices Cranger Kirmes
As we had often been to the Oktoberfest in Munich before, we found the Cranger Kirmes much cheaper. Especially the smaller beers are not too expensive. There are also Maßkrüge and wheat beer in 0.5 litre glasses. Converted to the litre, the beer costs about 7 to 9 euros. The schnapps is cheaper. In the Ruhr area, people often drink a schnapps with their beer. Prices start at around 1.50 euros at many stalls.
We have the impression that the food at the Cranger Kirmes is not overpriced for a fair of this size. A Bulette with a roll, a curry sausage or similar can sometimes be had for less than 3 euros. The focus of the food is clearly on snack food or fast food, as is usual at folk festivals.
In our impression, the rides have the same prices as everywhere else at such large festivals. But we have two tips for saving money.
Firstly, there are the famous Crangepasses. With the Fahrspaß pass (price 15 euros) you can use the rides for 20 euros. The Crangepässe Schlemmerpass is valid in most snack bars and beer bars etc.. Here, too, you save 5 euros, the pass costs 20 euros and you can eat and drink with it for 25 euros. As far as we know, the Crangepasses will be available from June in many advance booking offices in the Ruhr region.
Another way to save money is the family day. This is always on Wednesday at the Cranger Kirmes. Among other things, the price of the rides is much lower then.
Getting to the Cranger Kirmes
The nearest major railway station is Wanne-Eickel (S-Bahn and regional express of Deutsche Bahn). You can walk to the funfair from this station in about 20 minutes. We walked up the central pedestrian zone (Hauptstraße). This leads directly to the funfair.
At funfair time there are a large number of special buses that connect the fairground with Herne station and Wanne-Eickel station. Some lines also go directly to the surrounding towns, for example to Gelsenkirchen.
Of course, many visitors also come by car. Of course, finding a parking space for the fair is not easy. It’s better to park a little further away and continue your journey by public transport.
Opening hours of the Cranger Kirmes
The Cranger Kirmes has long opening hours. It is open every day from 1 pm, on Sunday from 11 am. The festival ends at midnight during the week, and at weekends it even goes on until 2 am.
On the opening day it usually starts at 6 pm (tapping of the barrel).