Era of Autonomy Festival will bring a horse market and a fair to town

The first ever Era of Autonomy Festival will be held in the historic centre and cultural buildings of Helsinki in September. The festival, which will be held on Car-Free Day on 22 September and on the following Sunday, 23 September, is one of the main events of the “Helsinki 200 Years as Capital” anniversary year.

The Festival takes the public back to the beginning of the era of autonomy in the early 19th century. The festival programme includes theatre and poetry in the spirit of the international cultural and social life of tsarist Finland, including music from the era that will be performed for the very first time in Finland. Senate Square will be transformed into a horse market and an old-fashioned fair will be held in Hietalahdentori square.

Senate Square turns into a horse market

Senate Square will be transformed into a horse market on Saturday 22 September from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the associations Työhevosharrastajat and Suomenratsut bring our four-legged friends to meet us. The City of Helsinki would never have been built without horses, so we will gather in Senate Square to celebrate them. The programme includes a Finnhorse quadrille performance, a playful horse auction and horse rides for the public. The market ceremonies will be hosted by actor Ville Virtanen in the role of Anton Cronstedt, adjutant to the governor general.

Free entrance. The fee for a horse ride around Senate Square is EUR 3 per person.

At 11 a.m. Anton Cronstedt (actor Ville Virtanen) will ride a horse from Senate Square to Hietalahdentori square. As he rides, accompanied by the sound of drums, Cronstedt will read aloud the Tsar’s edict declaring the City of Helsinki the capital of Finland.

Era of Autonomy Fair at Hietalahdentori square

On Saturday, 22 September, there will be an Era of Autonomy Fair at Hietalahdentori square from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The items on sale include handicrafts, products made of recycled materials, ceramics, graphic art objects, jewellery and organic soap. There will also be old artefacts from the 19th century, such as jewellery, books and furniture.

In addition, you can buy preserved food, jellies and jams. There are also various food stands where you can enjoy soup, smoked salmon, crêpes with sweet and savoury fillings, jacket potatoes and old-fashioned pastries.