Federal Weidling (River Boat) Competitions
The Rhein is home to several boating clubs with different types of boats. The Weidling boats are traditional style riverboats whose crews typically consist of one or two people who each use either a long stand-up paddle (when going downstream) or a long wooden pole with a forked metal end designed to push the boats along the river bottom (when going upstream).
On this first weekend in September, Basel will be hosting the Eidgenössisches Weidlingswettfahren (Federal Weidling Race), not only as an exciting sports event but also to raise public awareness to the sport of “Wasserfahren” and promote and preserve it as an official listing of a "living tradition" and "intangible cultural heritage" (UNESCO) of Switzerland. The exciting competitions have the paddlers racing around obstacle courses set up on the river, where precision and speed determine the winners. For this major event, participants can compete in both pair races or individual races, and spectators have the opportunity to follow both competitions within a short walking distance. The competition courses and the festival area will all be on the Kleinbasel of Rhein. The competitions are taking place around Mittlere Brücke (pairs) and Wettsteinbrücke (singles), and you can even try your own hand at this interesting sports near the “Leu” ferry. The festival area is set up at Kaserne, with food, drinks, and live entertainment until late into the evening on Friday and Saturday. So why not come down to the Rhein to take in some of the action?
This event is free to watch but you can show your appreciation by purchasing a commemorative plaque designed especially for this year's Federal Weidling Competition event in Basel (similar to purchasing a Blaggedde for the Fasnacht).