The Oktoberfest’s Flea Circus
The Oktoberfest is one of the biggest festivals in the world, known and remembered primarily for the beer, but not just that: the Wiesn, as the huge lawn where the festival has been organised since 1810 is known, is a succession of rides, games, stalls and artists.
Among the many attractions, one of the more unusual is the flea circus where the smallest artists in the world can be seen: fleas pulling small wagons, spinning rides and playing soccer.
The circus is especially suited to children but is irresistible even for the adults!
The flea circus has a long history and was popular, especially around the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century, as a travelling show, a form of alternative entertainment with respect to the classic circus.
Conceptually, it was a showcase containing a number of fleas, harnessed to tiny “carts” for better visibility (on the walls of the showcase magnifying glass was usually installed). The “trained” fleas, performed a number of circus acts (like jumping through rings of fire) or other unusual tricks (for example, games of football).
The art of the flea circus is largely a forgotten tradition; however even today, a few exhibitions of this kind continue to be performed. At the Oktoberfest, for example, the show is worthy of the best tradition and is a rare experience and certainly not one to be missed.