Maria Alm Herbsfest, Maria Alm, Austria
The Maria Alm Herbsfest takes place every year over a weekend at the end of September. It's a weekend when the whole village celebrates their livestock's return from the high summer pastures to spend the winter months in the village. On Saturday morning the cows, horses and goats are paraded through the narrow village streets, their herders and the assembled crowd dressed in their best traditional costumes.
It's also a weekend of music, eating and drinking. As the village is closed to traffic, the streets are handed over to the people, wandering from stall to stall to sample Bratwurst, Beer, Schnapps and Strudel. Tables and shade are provided in the squares to enable you to sit and watch the continuous show of traditional dancing, brass bands, singers, craft work, and the young men of the village on horseback cracking long bull whips in a (frighteningly close to the crowd) choreographed display.
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