“For a fairground stallholder, taking part in the Schueberfouer is like taking part in the Champion’s League for a footballer,” explains Alexander Dotremont, operator of the King Kong restaurant, a few hours before the event kicked off on Wednesday 23 August. The Belgian fairground operator has been operating on the Glacis fairground for five years, and had his sights set on the biggest fair in the Greater Region for a long time before finally obtaining his ticket.
The Schueberfouer is one of the biggest fairs in Europe in terms of attendance and public spending.
“The Schueberfouer is the best fair of the year for me,” confides Dotremont, who specialises in the sale of drinks, snacks and grilled meat. There are many advantages to the Luxembourg fair, starting with the fact that it falls during the school holidays. This public has a high purchasing power, and it comes in droves every year.
“The Schueberfouer is one of the biggest fairs in Europe in terms of visitor numbers and public spending,” he sums up, going on to cite the Foire du Trône in Paris and Munich’s Oktoberfest to complete the trifecta.
German fairground culture
This potential explains why the fairground stallholder doesn’t take part in the Foire du Midi, organised just before the Schueberfouer. He intends to devote his time to setting up his business, which employs 22 people during the Fouer. As the Brussels funfair ends on 20 August, the timing is too tight for him to be able to take up residence at the Glacis.
“What’s more, my type of establishment lends itself better to the Schueberfouer than to the Foire du Midi. Here, the Luxembourg public tends to eat and drink. The Schuebi is more like a German fair.” The catering offer is extensive, with both takeaway outlets and restaurants where customers eat on the premises, sometimes with live music until late in the evening.
The showman has known about the event all his life: his grandparents ran big businesses there, and his aunt was the Fouer’s fortune-teller for many years. This year, he is one of the 211 active establishments at the Glacis. As someone who takes part in many other fairs in Europe, he admits that “the location fees are quite reasonable in Luxembourg, as some cities are excessively expensive.” What does he do with the difference? Dotremont says he invests it in promotion, which is vital to his business.
Asked whether Luxembourg’s relatively high standard of living causes him to adjust his prices, the 43-year-old professional assures us that he does not: “In my case, prices do not vary in Luxembourg compared to other places.” This fair completes his roadmap for the year. Dotremont participated in the Antwerp fair, which is also renowned for its attractiveness, from 27 May to 2 July.
This article was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.