Salzburg region in Austria marks Harvest Festival (Bauernherbst!) with hundreds of events throughout September and October that are popular with residents and draw huge crowds of tourists from across the world.
Many activities and celebrations are focused in and around Zell am See, a short journey by bus, taxi or hire car from CLC Alpine Centre, where visitors can join in the fun, food and frivolity that comes when mountain people enjoy themselves honouring their traditions and customs.
The tradition of harvest festival stems back to earlier times and the dependency of local farmers on a successful harvest, along with the welcoming back of cattle returning to villages from their summer Alpine pastures.
Brass bands, accordions, folk costume, thigh-slapping dancers, decorated cows, horses and goats, crafts and lots of delicious foods, as well as schnapps and foaming beer tankards, all play a part in modern day celebrations with a spectacularly diverse calendar. Expect farmers’ markets, parades, concerts and many other activities, with more than 70 communities taking part.
Breathe in the fresh air and hike from one participating hill farm to another during harvest festival, it’s a beautiful season for walking, while cycling between venues is also a possibility. An unusual event worth mentioning is a Musical Hike though the Hochkönig region on October 4th. Participants converge on three peaks: the Hundstein, Schneeberg and Klingspitz to a whip cracking welcome and traditional music, and the echoing sound of the alpenhorn.
In Zell am See centre, there is a Farmers’ Market every Friday throughout September where local produce and gifts can be purchased. Some farmers also sell direct from their farms and the region’s speciality foods can also be tasted in the official ‘Bauernherbst’ restaurants.
Alpengold Festival in Uttendorf
The weekend of 25-27 September is the 20th anniversary Alpengold Festival in Uttendorf/Weiẞsee with folk music from professional bands on the Friday evening, a farmers’ market and parade with horseback riders among Saturday’s festivities and a lunchtime folk music get-together on the final day.
Einheigafest in Zell
For details of all events, including Zell’s traditional farming festival on September 27th – ‘Einheigafest’, with rural crafts, music, dance, dairy show, prize contests, traditional Pinzgauer specialities of roast pork, sausage, farmhouse bread and cake, and a children’s programme, go online. There is free entrance and parking, it is also on a bus route (number 71) from Zell’s post square.
A full list of events and schedules can be found at www.zellamseekaprun.com/en/newsevents/bauernherbst and www.salzburgerland.com/en/harvest-festival/index.html
There is also plenty to see and do in the small local villages of María Alm and Maishofen. Event times can be found here: http://www.hochkoenig.at/topbilder/pdf/prospekte/bauernherbstfolder_web.pdf
Look out for the Bauernherbst sign everywhere and don’t forget, you can also ask for more information at CLC Alpine Centre resort reception!
Photo credit: Inspiration Point Studio