The history of the fair dates back to 1570 when it began as an annual market to celebrate the consecration day of Tilburg's patron saint. The word ‘kermis’ developed from kerkmis or kerkemisse, meaning church service. In its 440 year history, Tilburg Kermis has grown into a leading event with loads of modern fairground attractions, many of which are often unveiled for the very first time at the ten-day celebration. But there's also space for older attractions at the so-called nostalgic kermis. You can find old-fashioned attractions, which are actually still pretty popular, especially with kids.
In addition to the hundreds of rides and games on offer, the rest of the city centre gets involved in the event as well. Pubs and restaurants organise large-scale stages, DJ-sets and special theme evenings. There are afternoons with reduced prices, especially for the disabled and for kids and on the the famous Pink Monday. This event, which brings gays and lesbians from all over the Benelux nations to Tilburg, has turned this particular Monday into the busiest day of the entire fair. Many artists perform on Pink Monday on one of many stages in town or at special party tents and in the town's gay bars.
Tilburg Kermis even boasts its own radio station. Kermis FM, which can be received on 107 FM only during the kermis and exclusively in the Tilburg area, offers a mix of information about the event, traffic info and typical kermis music. When the full ten days of partying are over, the kermis is traditionally buried. The rides and games close at 22:00 and a funeral procession makes its way through the town towards the Pius Harbour where the locals say goodbye to the Kermis with plenty of noise and a 15-minute fireworks display. In 2015 Tilburg Kermis will be held from Friday, July 17 up to and including Sunday, July 26.