St. Matthew’s Fair is the place where children’s dreams come true, leaving their parents’ wallets empty. It takes place at the Holešovice Exhibition Grounds in Prague from 24 February to 15 April. You’ll find both traditional rides and modern adrenaline attractions there. You can spend all day at the fair but expect to pay hundreds of Czech crowns for the attractions.
The greatest fair in Prague is 55 years old
In 2018, the jubilee 55th year of St. Matthew’s Fair will take place at the Exhibition Grounds in Prague. Visitors can expect about 115 attractions from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Germany, and other European countries. The traditional attractions will include a roller coaster, a giant Ferris wheel, the Haunted Castle, a big chain carousel, the Old Bohemian Loch Ness, or the House of Laughter. Around 22 attractions will remain in operation in the Czech and Dutch funfair for the rest of the year.
The legendary roller coaster
If you haven’t been to St. Matthew’s Fair yet, you don’t know what it is about. The roller coaster has been part of the fair from the beginning. Any parent would swear it looks the same as 20 years ago: even then it aroused awe and respect, especially by its “outdated” appearance. But when you stop worrying, it really is worth trying! You’ll have a breath-taking view of the surrounding area from the top. However, the ride is not for the faint-hearted – in the small cart, you always feel like you will definitely fall out or miss the bend and crash down. But this only takes a moment, and as soon as you get out of the cart, you’ll be happy to walk on the ground again.
A century of tradition and modern fools
The traditional St. Matthew’s Fair dates back to 1595. The fair opened the fair season in Prague, and with its opening on 24 February, St. Matthew’s Day, it’s still the first spring fair in Europe. At first, stalls and rides used to stand at the church in Hanspaulka but since it needed more and more space, it moved first to Vítězné Square, and then to Dejvice and Hradčanská Street. In 1963, St. Matthew’s Fair found its ideal location at the Exhibition Grounds.
24 years ago, incredible Dutch attractions came to St. Matthew’s Fair for the first time. They have increased the attractiveness of the fair for adults and teenagers who crave adrenaline experiences. This year, other hits such a 70-metre swing or a free fall from 90 metres will be at the fair as well. You can calm your heartbeat at the traditional shooting galleries, bumper cars and inflatable attractions. Or would you like to enjoy sweet or savoury snacks?
How to get there
Most visitors come by tram: you can use tram lines No. 6, 12, 16 a 17 and get off at the U Výstaviště stop. There is also a large parking lot at the Exhibition Grounds premises where you can park your car for about CZK 40 per hour or CZK 200 per day. If you are not a resident, it’s difficult to park elsewhere in Holešovice.
St. Matthew’s Fair is open even during the Easter from Tuesday to Sunday – on weekdays from 1PM to 9PM, at the weekends from 10AM to 10PM. On Mondays, except for public and school holidays, the fair is usually closed. The admission of CZK 30 applies to people taller than over 120cm, and only at the weekends.