“I want to remain optimistic, but for the past year the situation has been really very difficult for the whole sector,” said Charles Hary, chairman of the national fairground stallholders federation (FNCF). In 2020, all parades, cavalcades and fairs--including the Schueberfouer--were canceled. “Even the Christmas market, which for a period of time was considered [to be held], was cancelled two weeks before it started,” stated Hary.
For the 2021 edition of the Schueberfouer, “nothing has been decided yet, we have set the deadline for a decision to be taken on 1 July in order to have as much room [for manoeuvre] as possible. Last year the decisions were made very early, as early as April, so we are hopeful things will go better this year.”
Aid granted to fair families
But Hary is also clear-headed about the health situation of the country. “The Schueberfouer has an attendance of two million people, and even if it takes place, we will certainly not be able to organise it in a ‘normal’ way. Protection measures will still be required. But if the fair’s restaurateurs have to keep a distance of two meters between tables, can they be profitable? The acceleration of vaccination is certainly a hope for us”, he said.
The Luxembourg stallholders present at the Schueberfouer “do not own the big sensational rides [which belong to French and German operators], they rather run confectionery stands, restaurants, bumper cars”, said Hary. “Some have put their employees on short-time work, others are using their savings, still others are using their trucks to work in transport, the situation is not easy, we lost everything last year.”
The Pentecost funfair maintained for the moment
In regular contact with Lex Delles, minister of tourism and small & medium sized business (DP), stallholders were able to benefit from two €5,000 aid grants for each family. “And the City of Luxembourg allowed us to work last summer between mid-July and mid-September, which gave us a little breath of fresh air.”
The federation represents around a hundred stallholders, some of whom had zero turnover in 2020, “and we do not want that repeated this year.”
Discussions are also underway with the ministry of tourism and small & medium sized business on potential fresh aid for the current year, “but it is not aid that we want, what we want is to work!”, Hary pointed out.
While the Eimaischen "Mäertchen" (which was scheduled to begin last Saturday 24 April) and the Cessange town fair have all been canceled, the Esch-sur-Alzette funfair, which is set to take place at Pentecost (Sunday 23 May), is still scheduled for the moment: “We will know if it is canceled on 5 May,” explained Hary.
On the other hand, there will not be big National Day celebrations on 23 June, for the second year in a row.