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Traditional Tyrolean handcrafts festival
This year once again, for the 21st time, Seefeld’s business community is organising the “Altes Handwerk Tirol” event, a festival of traditional Tyrolean handcrafts. The guiding principle behind the event has remained the same since its very beginning, namely “Authenticity & Originality”. As usual, on the second weekend in September, craftsmen and women dedicated to keeping alive their traditional skills will convene in Seefeld and enthral visitors by giving them the chance to watch the “old masters of their craft” at work. Preparations for the event, which have been going on for the last six months, are now in the final stage and there’s one thing we can promise already – it’s set to be a unique event that visitors will remember for a long time to come! Never before has the festival had so many performers in traditional costume as this year (over 800 have confirmed their participation).
In craftsmanship lies mankind’s most valuable commodity
This year, throughout the entire pedestrian zone, more than 1,500 men and women (craftspeople, musicians, choirs, traditional costume associations, tractor drivers and many more besides) will ensure a festival to remember by demonstrating their traditional handcraft skills at over 100 stands and in the many outdoor presentation areas. They come from North, South and East Tyrol, and from the neighbouring regions of Bavaria. This event holds a high status Seefeld’s calendar of tourist attractions. The organisers are very selective in their choice of participants in order to ensure a unique festival with a truly distinctive character.
Craftsmen and women of almost forgotten trades demonstrate their skills in Seefeld’s pedestrian zone
Basket weavers, saddlers, violinmakers, felt makers, hatters, smiths, barrel makers, wainwrights, potters, knife grinders, sign painters, cloth printers, goldsmiths, hand weavers, chip carvers, sculptors, knife and cutlery makers, gold embroiderers, quill embroiderers, embossers, bobbin lace makers, wood turners, glass blowers, tanners, engravers, mask carvers, fence makers, sheepshearers and pine oil distillers, to name but a few. Under the motto “from grain to bread,” bakers from South Tyrol will be demonstrating the journey taken by rye grain from the field all the way to the baker’s oven. Watch them make bread dough which is then transformed into several South-Tyrolean bread specialities including “Breatln” and “Vinschgerlen” and baked in a wood-burning stove. The smell of the freshly baked bread is so irresistible you simply have to stop and enjoy a taste. Many other very rare crafts, some of which have almost died out completely, are also, once again, on show, including monastic artwork, and the work of “Lebzelter” who were responsible for honey and wax and the products made using them, and handcrafts which were formerly carried out on farms, such as butter making, the processing of sheep’s wool and flax, the hollowing-out of pine for water pipes - you can even see a hand saw – scythe sharpening, log splitting for fences and lots more besides. And the special exhibition of traditional costumes in the chapter house, has, over the years, also become a major attraction in itself offering an ever more in-depth insight into almost-forgotten handicrafts. Have you already “crafted” your plans for the weekend?
Folk music, brass-band music and traditional, homemade specialities
But it’s not only old handcrafts that have become a permanent feature of this two-day event – skilled musicians will also be performing high-quality, authentic folk music in different areas in the pedestrian zone. All lovers of brass-band music can enjoy a treat in the music pavilion local and regional bands will be performing. And it goes without saying that a Tyrolean festival wouldn’t be a Tyrolean festival without traditional, mouth-watering, homemade treats which are on offer at designated stands. TIP: Try the local specialities “Kiachln” and “Zillertaler Krapfen”!
Historical tractor procession
The main attraction on Saturday is the tractor procession at 1 pm. The oldest tractors date back as far as 1939, and some of the vehicles carry additional historical farm working equipment, such as the formidable first sickle-bars used in the Seefeld Plateau. Rarities also include a stationary-engine gristmill, a “tedder” for turning hay and a potato harvester.
Accompanying evening mass in St. Oswald Parish Church is a performance by the a musical group or choir, thus bringing Saturday’s events to a festive close.
Stunning traditional costume parade
The ultimate highlight on Sunday is a stunning parade of wearers of traditional costumes at 1 pm with over 800 participants from North and South Tyrol. They will be accompanied by local brass and woodwind bands.
The World of Traditional Costumes
SPECIAL EXHIBITION IN THE CHAPTER HOUSE
The two-day event is enhanced by a special exhibition in the chapter house. The theme of the exhibition is traditional costumes, and men and women from North and South Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Bavaria will demonstrate their skills in creating decorative elements such as various headpieces, cloth printing and embroidery. Visitors to the exhibition can watch quill embroiderers, hand weavers, gold embroiderers and traditional indigo-blue cloth printers at work. In addition you can also see how important accessories are crafted such as hand-embroidered bands, stockings, hats, hand-embellished belts, buckles, buttons to name but a few. For the second time three women from the picturesque village of Thiersee will be demonstrating their skills in carding and spinning wool then knitting with it.