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Photo TR: Düsseldorf Fair Photos

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I know a lot of you like to see photos from the funfair circuit here in Europe, well last week I went off to Düsseldorf in Germany for one of the biggest fairs on the calendar. The weather wasn't great this year, but had a fantastic time anyway.


Remember, everything you see here, is only there for a 9 day fair. None of it is permanent - not the coasters, not the log flume, not the beer halls, nothing!


XXL and Star Flyer. The Star Flyer is one of 2 that the Goetzke family owns, the first didn't have enough capapcity for the big fairs, so this one has twice as many seats.


And that's about it. Thanks for reading!


New for 2008 (well, new for Düsseldorf anyway) is XXL, the 120ft version of the Afterburner from KMG. Incredible ride, strange that they've still only sold half of one (the ride is co-owned by the Kroon family, who effectively are KMG).


Wildwasser and High Energy form an impressive sight at the main entrance to the fair. It's no coincidence that 2 such spectacular rides are the first thing most people see as they arrive.


The top half of the flume from the nearby road-bridge. The ride was actually designed specially for this site, and it is no coincidence that the turnarounds are the same height as the bridge.


For me, probably the most impressive ride at the fair is Wildwasser, the triple-decker Log Flume. 3 drops, one backwards, great theming, and generally one of the best flumes I've ever ridden. Plus, so many boats that the queue moves like lightning.


Note at the rear of the ground level, there's quite a long tunnel section. This takes you through several "gold mine" scenes that must take up an extra lorry on their own.


This Top Spin is one of the first Huss made, but again, it has been extremely well maintained, so you would never guess that by its condition.


Revolution, a Huss Top Spin owned by the same family as the Break Dance. Unlike theme park Top Spins, a ride on this will involve around 3 or 4 fixed programme cycles, plus a section on manual control.


The idea of water jets on Top Spins originated on German fairs. The blue towers either side of the ride are water ballast, required to keep the ride stable without proper foundations in the ground. At some point someone thought to use the water to add to the fun of the ride, a trick many theme parks copied.


As with most German fair rides, the lighting is extremely impressive.


Shake, Mondial's answer to the Break Dance, with looping cars. Again, spectators are welcome to stand around the ride without any form of safety barrier.


The train is heads through the brief outdoor section, under the waterfall, and back indoors, headed by the ride's mascot, Rusty.


The other 2 coasters are a Wild Mouse and a standard Muarer spinning coaster, but I couldn't be bothered to show you those!


Hollenblitz ("Hell's Lightning"), the 2nd coaster at the fair, an enclosed spinning coaster full of lighting, laser, and fire effects. The top-sign is all LEDs, and changes colour constantly. The big TV screen shows footage of the ride, plus specially shot footage of the ride's mascot touring whatever city the ride is in.


It used to be called Magic Mountain, then Star World, each incarnation featured completely different theming on the entire front of the ride.


Fireworks over, and the fair really comes alive. The rides will generally be open until around 2am, though we had out last rides at 3am.


You'll notice that the average age of fair visitors in Germany is much higher than in most countries. There are surprisingly few youths around - and they always seem to congregate around the Break Dance for some reason!


Friday night is fireworks night, and the display is huge. All the lights go out on the rides, many rides close temporarily, and people flood out of the beer halls to watch. Meanwhile, the river is packed with huge party-boats, and the old-town on the opposite bank is crammed with people , as are the massive bridges at each end of the fair.


General night-view of the fair. This was taken on Friday night, when the attendance is usually estimated at around 700,000 people. That's more people in one night than a lot of parks get all year!


To give you an idea of how big the fair is, the 120ft tall XXL is barely a dot on the horizon, and that is only around three quarters of the way down the fair from here!


The ride in the bottom left of the photo is just a tiny section of the Log Flume, more of that later!


Psychodelic, one of the highlights of the fair. A small walk-through, involving kaleidoscope-glasses, kitsch 70s music, dancers, drag queens, and all manner of silly lighting effects.


Oscar Bruch's 60 meter Ferris Wheel


Power Tower 2, the tallest travelling tower in the world. Not the best of tower rides, but the operators really give the ride a boost by chatting constantly over the microphone to the riders.


High Energy, the world's first Zierer Star Shape, the only other one being at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This one looks and rides a million times better than Blackpool's, and as ever, theyt load the ride in almost no time at all.


Hard to believe, but this huge front is simply for a Rotor. If you see it from the back it's quite funny to see how tiny the ride is in relation to the façade.


Big Monster, a spinning car Schwarzkopf Polyp. As with the Break Dance, if you know how to move your weight around the car, these things spin like crazy.


Again, there is no queue for this ride, you just buy a token then go and stand around the ride without any safety barriers. It's great that a place exists where people can be trusted to do this without being stupid!


Playball, a Huss Flipper. Like many rides, this offered discounts for groups, but this ride also handed out glow-sticks to anyone buying multiple tokens!


Remember, some of these rides are around 20 years old, but you would never ever guess, as they are all presented immaculately, as they know that shabby rides are unlikely to be invited back next year.


Wild & Wet, the portable rapids-style ride. The lift tower rotates as you climb, and is a great ride in itself, besides being an ingenious space-saver. The boats on this ride REALLY spin!


Two of the finest rides in the world.


Did I mention that over in Holland, the Break Dances often allow people to stand up in the car throughout the ride? Even for me, that was scary!


Note the crowd standing around the edge. There is no safety barrier, you just stand around the ride and jump on when it slows to get a seat. You don't even need to buy a ride token to go and stand around it. At busy times, there can be hundreds of people around the ride, and staff are VERY good at ensuring nobody gets too close. When the floodlights turn on, the crowd lunges for the ride, it's the only time finding a seat has given me an adrenaline rush of its own! It's absolutely brilliant! The red and white section on the floor says "Danger Zone" - yeah, bit of an understatement, but it's incredible how people are sensible and take care of themselves even when the ride is stuffed with people. As a result of this, the ride can be loaded in around 30 seconds, and sometimes doesn't actually stop at all before starting again!


After a few rides, I became a bit of an expert at being the first to jump on, and not fall on my arse!


Back to the rides, and the icon of German fairs is the Huss Break Dance. If you've only ridden theme park Break Dances, you would not believe how much better the travelling ones are. The sound of the motors alone tells you that they run the ride flat-out.


This is actually the larger model Huss Break Dance, with 24 cars instead of 16. Only 4 exist, of which 3 travel in Germany (the other is in some park in the far east).


Inside the Brauerie Im Fuschen beer hall. The partying was pretty wild, but despite the mix of beer and rides, I've never seen any fighting or misbehaviour at a German fair.


Another very modern beer hall, laid on by a brewery based just across the river. All over Germany, people seem very proud of their local beers, making this probably the most crowded of all the halls at the fair.


The tower at the right of the halls's façade is a copy of Düsseldorf's Rheinturm tower, which is on the opposite bank of the river, and shows how specific this hall is to Düsseldorf - it does not travel with the rest of the fair circuit, but just does various events around the city.


Inside a different beer hall, where a concert is in progress by EuroPop artist, Doctor Albarn.


German fairs are renowned for their beer halls. Düsseldorf fair isn't technically a beer festival like Munich, but has numerous portable beer halls of various sizes. Like most beer halls, you can go in here to get beer, meals, and listen to live music. Outside, smaller bars sell beer to passers by, and seating area is available for hire by small parties. The whole thing has a strong Bavarian (Bayern) theme, despite Düsseldorf being absolutely nowhere near Bavaria.


If you didn't know what EuroStar was, here it is at last year's fair on the same spot. A very intense Intamin/Giovanola inverter, it was fabulous in it's early years, but became quite rough later on. It was always immaculately presented though, and was amazing to watch.


Oscar Bruch, by the way, is the guy who owned Thriller/Texas Tornado/Zonga before it moved to America


Alpina Bahn was a last minute replacement for EuroStar, Oscar Bruch's inverted coaster which arrived on site, then got sold to Gorky Park in Moscow, and promptly left. Alpina Bahn's schedule is now so hectic it sometimes has just 4 days between closing in one city and opening in another.


As you can see, the weather was grottier than I'm used to, but the day-glo train still stands out. At one point, it was running 4 trains, and is capable of running 5. In the station, trains were stationary a maximum of 25 seconds before heading out again.


The biggest of the 4 coasters at the fair, Alpina Bahn. Oscar Bruch's non-looping Schwarzkopf, and a ride I've loved more and more at each of the 3 fairs at which I've seen it.


When it's quiet, German fairs sometimes give really long rides. I've had rides on Airwolf that have lasted around 10 minutes. Also, they don't put the price up when they get busy, unlike British fairs!


The lighting and audio on this ride is incredible. You can see how bright the LEDs on the front of the ride are, as it's too much for my camera! It's actually hard to get decent shots because there's so much lighting on the front that the ride gets lost. It also has on-board speakers for the riders, and speakers playing music into the crowd.


Mondial later evolved this ride to become the Top Scan. They've also recently created the Diablo, a smaller version of this ride.


First up (alphabetically at least) is Airwolf, a Mondial Inferno. Only 3 of these were ever built, which is a shame, as this is one of my very favourite spin rides. I'm told the other two aren't as good, either in terms of riding or presentation. Still, for me, Airwolf is the king of the thrill rides.


First view of the fair as you cross the river. This is actually the rear entrance, the majority of people use the other end of the fair.

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It absolutely amazes me that all this stuff is temporary. These fairs look like an awesome version of our state fairs where all of the buildings are usually permanent and only really the rides travel around. Though the ride selection here pales in comparison.


Thankyou for posting these.

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This is absolutely incredible



Just think of how much time they use for bringing all those rides up. And I really can't understand how they have transportable coasters; that's just sick (in a cool way).




Well, if you think it takes a long time to build these rides, remember that with EuroStar gone, Alpina Bahn's schedule is incredibly tight this year as it has to replace it at a couple of other fairs. As a result, there are times this year where the ride will close in one city on Sunday night, and be open in another city the following Friday!


Likewise Hollenblitz and Wildwasser - Wildwasser actually has 2 bases so they can begin the groundwork at the next site while the ride is still open somewhere else.


I'm trying to find the info, but I think it travels on about 40 lorry loads, which often go by rail or river to save cost. EuroStar required even more loads than that, which is one of the reasons it it was less profitable.


Schwarzkopf was the king of transportable coasters. Remember that Texas Tornado / Zonga travelled Germany for 10 years before it crossed the Atlantic. Likewise, Dreier Looping and Olympia Looping are incredible designs. Olympia Looping still tours, and I believe is still the only coaster in the world with 5 vertical loops (arranged and coloured to match the Olympic rings)



Thanks for the feedback everyone, glad you enjoyed the pics!

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I went to Oktoberfest a few years ago, and one of the things that me an my boyfriend commented on was how a fair like this could never happen in America. There is no way you could mix that much beer with that many different types of people without fights occurring every other minute. Everybody at Oktoberfest seemed to be best friends with everyone else...even us, and we didn't know a soul or even speak German. We were hugged and forced to sway back and forth and sing with total strangers, and nobody had an attitude.


Great trip report. I definitely want to go back...it was one of the most fun times I've ever had.

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^ Yay! I am so excited to go now after reading some of the responses and viewing this awesome trip report! My partner and I have already started saving for Oktoberfest '09 and have been discussing this trip for over a year now!


I am half German (but never have been to Germany) and I also happen to love beer + rides! Singing, hugging, and having fun is what I am all about! And yes, I would obey the warning lines & signs on the rides, even after a couple of steins of kick-ass German beer!


Elissa, pleaaassse schedule an Oktoberfest trip!!! While we are wanting to see a lot of the scenery (castles, rivers and such) in Germany during our visit, we also would like to hit up some of the awesome theme parks & fairs!

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