As soon as the cattle, horses, sheep and goats happily inhabit their lush green summer quarters after having been driven up to Salzburg’s alpine pastures for mountain grazing, numerous celebrations throughout the country mark the official start of “Alpine Summer”.
When the fog stays longer in the valley and the nights are noticeably colder, when the forests show themselves in all their splendour, the morning dew is already turned into frost high up on the mountain and the Alpine summer cows are begging to be brought down from the mountain pastures, this is when the Fifth season starts, the harvest festival season.
“Bauernherbst” has been celebrated between August and the beginning of November since 1996. After the Alpine summer, the herdsmen bring the elaborately decorated cattle back down to the village and the harvest celebrations begin. A huge festival at the end of August is seen as the official opening of Bauernherbst and is followed up by a fun-filled programme of around 2,000 events. Harvest Festival is a time for celebrating old farming customs and traditions and sampling regional cuisine.
A whole array of traditional dishes are served up at the traditional Bauernherbst festivals, including many regional specialities – potatoes from Lungau, trout from the Fuschl lake, cheese spätzle from Pinzgau as well as the well-loved apple strudel. You can sample farm produce directly from the stands at the farmers’ market including cheese seasoned with herbs from the Alpine pastures, smoked ham and sausages, along with crusty farmhouse bread and freshly harvested apples and pears, oh and not to forget the schnapps!
After a normal working day on the farm and tending to cattle, it is time for the cheese, butter and bread to be made and the fruit to be harvested. The last crop of hay is baled and the atmosphere is full of vitality as the locals mingle with guests. There is music and dancing and plenty of gossip as well as the opportunity to enjoy good food and drink. The locals wear their traditional costumes with pride, many in Lederhosen and Dirndls. Figures are carefully crafted from hay, an activity in which visitors can also join in. Special Bauernherbst holiday packages promise activity filled days, including hiking and biking and there are many opportunities to sample regional cuisine and take part in local festivities which are full of fun and tradition.
Some interesting facts about Bauernherbst
- The Salzburger “Bauernherbst” was founded in the year 1996.
- Since that time around 500,000 visitors have attended the numerous festivals.
- “Bauernherbst” is a product of SalzburgerLand Tourismus GmbH.
- During this time a link has been forged between agricultural associations, clubs and businesses along with tourism which has supported the development of farming and rural life.
- Between August and the beginning of November, 74 partner villages celebrate Bauernherbst.
- The official “Bauernherbst” opening is held in a different region of SalzburgerLand each year.
- The participating villages offer special holiday packages along with an entertainment programme.
- Around 2,000 events provide music and entertainment as well as offering regional cuisine.
- 340 Bauernherbst hosts offer special menus including regional dishes.
- In total, there are 14,000 participants (farmers, craftsmen, musicians and dancers) who all contribute to the festive celebrations.
- The theme for 2016/2017 is “wild herbs and medicinal plants from SalzburgerLand”.
- Bauernherbst villages can be recognised by the signposts and flags bearing the Bauernherbst trademark.
Official Opening Festival 2017
The official county opening festival will take place on Saturday 26th August, 2017 in Wagrain-Kleinarl. Visitors can expect on this weekend a colourful programme of traditional music, a big harvest festival parade, a farmers market, herb stands as well as customs and handicrafts shows.