Olma

Officially the biggest event in the St.Gallen Calendar – Olma! Now don’t get your hopes up too much, it still just a glorified farmer’s market, but there are some moments of fun to be had.

Firstly the location. There is permanent exhibition space just East of the city centre just past the Radisson, but the actual event is normally for about 2 weeks towards the end of October.

This year the festivities are from the 11-21 October and while there is a whole website and an Olma flyer unfortunately it is all in German (or French) (as is their Facebook page) so you can guess that this is designed for the locals and not overseas tourists. Still plenty of fun to be had for a day.  Here’s a few highlights:

1) Pig racing (!)
I know, sounds fascinating doesn’t it! And it is what it is – pigs running in a circle with numbers on their backs.  A good laugh for the adults and fun for the kids!

2) Sausages galor (Olma Bratwurst to be precise)
Pay attention to people who get free vouchers through the post. There are lots of these vouchers floating around in the run up to the event.  Someone always seems to have spares.

I borrowed the image from their website 😉 didn’t really get this close…

3) Beer and Appenzeller
There is a whole hall full of booths selling the full range of the region’s alcohol.  Personally I  can’t stand the Appenzeller spirit but the beer makes up for it.  Only drawback is that this hall tends to be busiest and it can be tough just trying to push your way through to a bar.  Lucky that there are so many bars really…

4) Free food
While most of booths are selling food and there is a proper restaurant, head over to the tasting hall.  You will get hold of plenty of freebies to supplement that bratwurst you just had. Excellent chance to test all of those local cheeses before you buy them in the coop 🙂

5) Farm animals
Now whether this is really an attraction or not, I leave up to you. All I will say is that there are some seriously huge bulls. The parading horses were a little tedious, but then I’m not a farmer.

There are a lot of halls (take a look at the Olma flyer before you go) but many of them are missable unless you are interested in farm or building equipment.

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