Sunday, 19 August 2007

Solothurn Market Party 2007

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Every year in our town of Solothurn we have a so-called „Märetfescht“ which in English would be loosely translated as market party. It is visited by hundreds of people from surrounding towns. To cope with the danger of injury, accidents, and “punch-ups” (it is surprising what people are capable of when the beer is flowing freely and arguments break out) there is a constant presence of the local first aid group. I belong to such a group myself in our village and this year our group had the privilege of dealing with such problems. The picture above shows some of us (my photo imposed) waiting for the next victim. The party is from Friday until Sunday in the early hours of the morning. My duty was on Saturday afternoon. It was quite quiet and we measured the blood pressure of some elderly ladies, and treated a few cuts and blisters from wearing the wrong shoes. It was pleasant weather, the sun was shining, and the temperature around 28° C. Our colleagues doing the evening/night duty did not have such an easy task as there were a few fights and accordingly injuries.

The town is full of market stalls selling everything from china, crockery, antiques, records, pictures, clothing etc. etc. There are many food stools offering a selection of everything possible that you can eat in the hand or take away. There are also street restaurants especially organised for the visitors. Food can be had from other countries, such as India, China, Vietnam, Turkey, Italy and even baked potatoes (from England?). Pancakes with syrup were being sold on the stall next to our tent and I still had the smell around me after my 20 minute walk home. It is a chance to meet old friends and generally to look for a bargain on the stalls. In the middle of town there is a stage with benches and tables for the audience, the local radio station being in charge. During the day there are mostly karaoke competitions amongst children, or adults. In the evening room is made for the local beat groups. Food and drink can be consumed at the tables during the performances. My son stayed for the evening performances and came home about 05.00 this morning.

Now and again I was on patrol with a colleague, with our 1st aid kit packed in a rucksack, although I took the opportunity myself to see if there was anything worth buying. Usually the stores in the town have a stall outside with a selection of bargains - probably a chance to get rid of some surplus stock. There is also a special children’s playground with trampoline etc. and of course the usual candyfloss sales and toffee apples which every kid loves and every mother hates when it falls on the floor or the kids get sticky hands.

I took a few photos of the goings-on, so you can have a look for yourselves.

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