Bauernherbst - the 5th season in Gastein
When the days are shorter again and the evenings are already noticeably cooler, the alpine summer comes to an end and the 5th season in the Gastein Valley begins: the farmer's autumn! This is the time when the dairymen return with their animals from their alpine pastures in the mountains to the farms in the. Valley. Traditionally, the joy that the alpine summer was good and accident-free is celebrated with many customs events! Lederhosen and colorful dirndl dresses dominate the image of the golden autumn, dance and music festivals are held everywhere. The highlight, however, is certainly the driving down of over 1000 sheep from Nassfeld and, of course, the great harvest festival procession in Bad Hofgastein!
The Thermenhotels Gastein accompany the Farmer's Autumn culinary. The restaurant in the Hotel Alpina is one of the designated Bauernherbst hosts and spoils its guests with all kinds of seasonal and regional specialties. The forest contributes a lot with mushrooms and fungi, blueberries and cranberries, and game meat from deer, stag or chamois. A glass of Swiss stone pine liqueur or rowanberry schnapps rounds off the meal.
In Gastein you can not only watch the craftsmen, but also lend a hand yourself and take some skills home with you. For example, you can practice baking bread, help make cheese and learn the art of making "Blattlkrapfen". While herb hiking in meadows and forests, you'll get tips on how to process the herbs and berries you've gathered yourself. Perhaps you will hear the impressive roaring of the deer during the rut, which echoes throughout the valley in September.
A time full of festive traditions
The neck bells of the cows, which are led from the alpine pastures back to their winter quarters "aufgekranzt" at the Almabtrieb, herald the unofficial beginning of the farmers' autumn.
It is always opened on the 1st Sunday in September, this year on the 4th of the month, with a festive opening in the Alpenarena in Bad Hofgastein.
On a large farmer market one can buy all the products, which developed over the summer on the Alm, or - still better - immediately enjoy. Music, the performance of the "Goaßlschnalzer" and a small animal show provide diversion and fun for young and old.
Perhaps you will visit the Böckstein Sword Dance beforehand. At the village square of the old mining settlement of Altböckstein, the miners' sense of status is very impressively presented in a dance performance in the traditional miners' costume. Their pride is understandable, after all, in the best year 800 kg of gold and 2500kg of silver were mined in the depths of the Tauern.
On the alpine pastures you can enjoy the wonderful late summer days with the concerts of the Alm:Klassik or be part of the folk music hike.
On September the time has come: the flocks of sheep are driven down from the high alpine pastures and gather around noon on the valley floor of Sportgastein on the Nassfeldalm, where they are picked up by the farmers. A spectacle not to be missed, when sheep closely accompanied by shepherds with their dogs make their way down from the high alpine pastures. Almost 1100 sheep leave the fragrant summer meadows on the alpine pastures and return to their stables and pastures in the valley.
Bleating echoes on the rugged mountains and the earth seems to shake. The waiting time is shortened by music and regional sheep products.
Kirtag and harvest thanksgiving
The early autumn events continue on September in Bad Hofgastein with the traditional Church Day, which has its origins in the consecration of the Church of Our Lady. 150 "Standln" - with sweets up to tools - which are offered for sale by market shouters, want to be visited and perhaps the one or other Mitbringsel for at home be acquired. In between, all kinds of seating and marquees tempt you to linger a bit over food and drink and watch the hustle and bustle. Dance music and folk dance groups accompany this festive day.
The highlight of the farmers' autumn is the big harvest thanksgiving procession, which takes place in September in Bad Hofgastein. Beforehand, garlands are woven from flowers and hay and figures are built from straw and hay. After several days of busy activity, during which the tractors and trailers are decorated, the cattle groomed and dressed up, the procession gathers and starts a parade through the town center. There are all kinds of things to admire and taste. Celebrations and dancing continue into the night at the big harvest festival.
The robust goats are the last to leave the alpine pastures. At the end of October the goats and their shepherds are welcomed back to Bad Hofgastein at the "Goaßabtrieb". With music and dance, you can then let the 5th season come to an end.