The onion market started in Weimar in 1653 as a “market for beasts and onions”. It was held near October 10th, however, the current dates of the fair are slightly different. The market annually opens for three days on the weekend closest to October 2nd.
In 1861 the market was extended to a three-day event, however, after the end of World War II the popularity of the fair declined. The lack of onions and too high prices almost killed the market, but its popularity started to pick up again in 1971. Gradually the market was again extended to three days, and the number of visitors grew every year. Nowadays about 350,000 visit the market in a small city with 65,000 souls only.
The onion market is a very jolly event. Music is played from five stages of the market during all three days. But before the market opens, local citizens and sportsmen participate in 10K and a half marathon run. Also there’s kid’s run for the youngest participants. These runs became traditional during the 1990s and still there are lots of people who want to participate.
The main attraction of the onion market is onions themselves. However, they come not in crates as in any shop, they are neatly plaited together and decorated with white, yellow and lilac dried flowers. These onion garlands are very popular among tourists and many buy them not for consumption, but as decoration or as a present.
The Weimar Onion Market is known not only for its nice onion garlands. It’s also the time to enjoy different meals cooked with onions: onion pie and onion soup are local specialties, however, you can also try such meals, as onion bread, onion casserole, onion cake, caramelized onion and onion ice cream as well.