Monday, October 6, 2008

Festivals and More

October 6, 2008 Festivals and More
We still can’t get over the diversity of festivals here. On Saturday we went to a Grape Harvest festival in the morning and a Flower festival in the afternoon. On Sunday it was the Wild Boar festival followed by a Sauerkraut festival. Each one is hosted by a different town and they are all different. Some are really small. Last week we went to a New Wine festival in Mittelbergheim. We should have known when we drove into town and easily found a parking space that it wouldn’t be much. We walked into the town hall where it was held and there we were with about 8 locals, all sitting at tables drinking the new wine (which tastes like a grape cider) and cracking English walnuts with mallets. Now that’s a festival!
Our favorite festivals have all had German oom pah pah bands. It’s so funny to hear them sing all of the songs in German and then thank the crowd with “Merci!” The dancing is entertaining, too. They play a polka and everyone polkas. They play a waltz and everyone polkas. They played a rumba and it was hilarious. All of the couples started to dance a polka to a Latin beat, but it just wasn’t working. You can only imagine what happened with the Tango music!
We loved the decorations at the Sauerkraut festival in Riedwihr. Cabbages were hanging from the chandelier and all around the inside of the giant tent. Outside a huge wagon of green and purple cabbages waited to be tossed into a grinder that pushed them up a conveyor belt and into a vat where a couple of workers scooped up (with their hands, no plastic gloves here!) the shredded cabbage and dumped it in plastic bags. The bags were weighed at 5 kilos (12 lbs.) and sold to the lines of people waiting for them. Other tents were pressing apples and sharing free samples of the juice. It was really cool to get “free” samples and not feel like you should buy something from them. There was no juice for sale!
We didn’t know what to expect at the Wild Boar festival in Ebersheim. Basically it was just like a Lutheran Church sausage supper with a different menu and live music. After buying a ticket, we were shown to a seat at a long table next to other people (none of whom spoke English). The meal was brought out in courses and the German band played and people danced the entire time. The wild boar was delicious and tasted like a lean roast beef (not tough or wild tasting at all).
Too bad we’re leaving France this week. Next weekend is the Pumpkin festival, the Chestnut festival and an Accordion evening. I guess we’ll just have to come back next year.

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