Horses, people and a monkey: The CHIO Aachen is also and primarily a folk festival
In ten days’ time, the CHIO Aachen opens its doors. The World Equestrian Festival stands for world-class sport, but above all it is the region’s largest folk and family festival.
The visitors of the CHIO Aachen (June 24th-July 3rd) are traditionally greeted at the main entrance by horses, found grazing between the Albert-Servais-Allee and the stable buildings. This year the reception committee is being joined by a monkey. “Captain Nobbi” is the name of the piece of work by the street artist, Paul Sous, which measures around 3 x 4 metres and which greets the guests right at the start of the Allee. Street art can be found at several locations across the grounds – colourful eye-catchers that demonstrate how multifaceted the show is.
At present there is a lot of hammering, sawing, planing and drilling going on at the showgrounds. Around 300 tents are being constructed, there are 200 exhibitors alone in the CHIO Aachen Village, the tent city with its typical, white pagoda-like tents. Pretty much everything imaginable is sold in the Village, from Scottish kilts to equestrian sport accessories, through to a complete airplane, a Cirrus SF 50. It is said that some visitors don’t see a horse for days even though they are season ticket holders. Because this is precisely what distinguishes the CHIO Aachen too: Strolling and browsing, seeing and being seen or simply enjoying a nice meal or a drink. And at the CHIO the choice ranges from chips through to the Michelin Guide-listed, Munich-based exquisite caterer, Käfer, in the Champions‘ Circle. “Paul’s – Food and Drinks” offers Mediterranean-style food in the heart of the CHIO Village, whilst a wide variety of wok specialities, burgers, through to roast stuffed with onions and beer on tap are available in the Soers beer garden.
The only place where it is quiet at the moment is the stable area, because the four-legged protagonists don’t arrive until just before the show starts. Here too – on the side wall of Stable 3 – a further small piece of Paul Sous’ work is on display, a washing line, one only notices at the second glance that they aren’t actually real shirts flattering away in the wind. For the first time, jumping horses will also be travelling to the show on the first weekend. Traditionally, the vaulters kick off the event from Friday to Sunday. However, this year – in line with 2022’s motto Youth – there is going to be top jumping sport on the first weekend in the form of the NetAachen Prize for Young Riders (up to 21 years old) and the “U25 Jumping Cup of the Foundation of German Top Equestrian Sport, the Prize of the Müter Family”. The youth jumping competitions will be staged in the Driving Stadium. Admission is free of charge.
Naturally, the CHIO Aachen stands for Germany’s largest sporting event, world-class equestrian sport at the most traditional site on the international equestrian circuit. But above all, the CHIO Aachen is a folk and family festival. The best example is Soers Sunday, the traditional open day. On Sunday, June 26th, the showgrounds will open their gates, the tent city will be open, an entertaining show programme will present the disciplines, the mascot Karli will drop by for a visit together with the WDR mouse, there will be pony riding and plenty more.
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