Switzerland’s Olma Fair: A Blend of Tradition, Modernity, and Culinary Delights
The 80th Olma Fair: A Celebration of Swiss Culture
The Olma Fair in Switzerland, the country’s largest public event, is set to celebrate its 80th opening on October 12. Running for ten days, the fair draws in visitors from across the nation and beyond, delivering a vibrant blend of culture, tradition, and modernity. This year, under the theme “City meets Country,” the canton of Zurich has been honoured as the guest participant, presenting itself under the slogan “Family Zurich’s Garden.”
With 560 exhibitors and a variety of special shows, the fair is a grand showcase of Swiss culture and ingenuity. It is a place where the urban meets the rural, where tradition meets innovation, and where the old meets the new.
A Debut, Tradition, and a Gaming Zone
Among the highlights of this year’s Olma Fair is the debut of the St Gallen Kantonalbank Hall. Though still partially under construction and slated for an official opening in March 2024, the hall will host an exhibition dedicated to the diverse facets of the Swiss food industry. The goal is to foster a greater appreciation for agricultural products and to make the food industry more tangible across the entire value chain. In addition, the hall serves as a marketplace for regional agricultural food producers to display their products.
Further embracing the blend of old and new, the fair offers visitors an immersive experience of Swiss folk culture in Hall 9.1A. Guests will be introduced to regional peculiarities and traditions through crafts, costumes, and singing. Crash courses in yodeling, alphorn playing, and flag waving are also on the agenda.
For the first time, the fair will also feature a gaming zone supported by Swisscom. Visitors can test popular games like Farming Simulator, Fortnite, and League of Legends. In addition, Nintendo will present new games, further enhancing the blend of tradition and modernity.
New Ambassadors and the Guest Canton
The Olma Fair has appointed three new ambassadors for its 80th edition: Eurovision Song Contest participant Remo Forrer, Sandra Gschwend, who co-conceived a bag closure system to keep food fresh, and star chef Agron Lleshi. All three ambassadors share long-standing connections with Olma.
The canton of Zurich’s presence at Olma 2023 aims to bridge the gap between city and country, economy and culture, and Zurich and Eastern Switzerland. It will present itself through four pillars, the largest of which is a special show in Hall 9.1B. This exhibition, resembling a garden show enriched with around 180 trees and shrubs, invites visitors to explore the canton of Zurich through four staged landscapes. The focus is on participation and discovery. On the guest canton day, October 14, around 1,400 Zurich residents will parade through the city of St. Gallen, presenting the guest canton with 52 subjects.
Olma Fair: A Tradition of Celebrating Swiss Heritage
Since its inception, the Olma Fair has been a unique platform for celebrating and showcasing Swiss culture, tradition, and innovation. It has become an iconic event in the Swiss calendar, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. The fair is more than a simple exhibition; it is a vibrant folk festival that brings together people from various sectors and interest groups. The Olma Fair, through its blend of tradition and modernity, offers a unique glimpse into the heart of Switzerland and its rich culture.
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