Known as early as the fifteenth century, it was reorganized as a children's festival in 1824 and has undergone further changes since. Up until the First World War, schoolboys took part in their cadet uniforms. Mandatory cadet instruction was given in the schools as a preparation for future military service.
Today's festival has a more colorful and relaxing atmosphere: bright clothes, balloons, flowers, pennants, class flags, and leaved branches characterise the parade and events on the Festplatz, or parade ground. The parade ground is situated above the old city and was purchased largely for this purpose by the local authorities. Some 8'000 children participate in the festivities. As its culinary speciality, the festival features the famous St.Galler Bratwurst, or grilled sausage, virtually a city symbol. Tens of thousands of them are consumed during the festival.