Press release, September 2023
A toast to craftwork
Seefeld celebrated local handcrafts on 9 and 10 September with its traditional handcrafts festival.
Things got hot at the Seefeld art smiths - during work and afterwards, because this year a grill was forged as a special project. © Region Seefeld
The traditional craft festival took place in the Seefeld pedestrian zone last weekend in imperial weather. Around 120 businesses presented their handcrafts on Tyrol's high plateau. The historical tractor parade, the traditional costume parade with over 800 participants from North and South Tyrol and numerous folk music groups rounded off what is probably the most authentic festival in the region.
The hammers of the blacksmiths and the axes of the woodworking craftsmen could be heard from afar, in the spa gardens the smoke from the ichthyol works mixed with that of the tradesmen's fryers, and from the village square genuine folk music sounded; this is how the traditional Seefeld crafts festival welcomed you. For more than 20 years, the festival has celebrated the traditional crafts of the region and attracts more and more participants from South Tyrol and Bavaria. Sepp Schandl, who has been a musician at the festival for many years, describes it as "the most beautiful craft market far and wide", which is certainly a sentiment shared by many visitors. But for the craftspeople, the two days in Seefeld are even more. "It's a great opportunity to show people what the region has to offer and what we can do," says Franz Brandner from the Werdenfelser Schafwolladen. Like most of the exhibitors, Brandner from Mittenwald has been coming to the crafts festival in Seefeld for years and appreciates it very much.
From filigree monastery work to blacksmith's art
The impressions that visitors take home with them are as varied as the craft itself. In front of the Hotel Klosterbräu, you can watch exhibitor Veronika Dill as she makes delicate monastery works and artistically decorated hairpins. Next to her, Ulrike Gruber is making paper by hand, which is something very special thanks to the petals of meadow flowers mixed in.
At the farmer's market on the village square, there are countless handicrafts and many culinary delicacies to buy. From homemade venison sausages to cheese and genuine Vinschgau Vinschgerl to Ferdinand Schot's honey, produced by his bee colonies in Seefeld and Mösern during the summer.
Behind the church, the little visitors discover black-nosed sheep, goats and miniature horses that are happy to be stroked, or they can try their hand at a very old craft. While rubbing corn by hand, they quickly realise how strenuous it can be to produce the food they otherwise only know from the supermarket shelves.
Freshly forged - bar set and grill
This year, food was also the topic at the Seefeld Kunstschmieden. Last year Wolfgang Unterwurzacher, Manuel Neuner, Martin Thaler and Daniel Reinpold forged a bar set. This year it was the turn of the matching grill. "For more than 20 years, we have been making a special project at the festival every year," says Unterwurzacher, who, like his colleagues, was already there at the first festival more than 20 years ago; back then as an apprentice with their joint boss Gerhard Neuner. While in previous years things were often created for the community, such as the village fountain or the ornaments on the roundabout, the blacksmiths in 2022 and 2023 thought of their own well-being with a bar and barbecue. At the end, they also barbecued for the other exhibitors at the crafts festival, with whom they have been friends for years. "It's always fun to meet here," says Unterwurzacher. And thanks to the perfect weather, it was a fun final evening at the bar they had forged themselves.
Tractor parade and traditional costume parade
Of course, the two midday highlights, the tractor parade on Saturday and the traditional costume parade on Sunday, were also special eye-catchers. Artfully decorated, over 100 years of tractor history chugged through the pedestrian zone and caused many "oohs and aahs", not only among the children. Folk music and traditional costume fans in particular got their money's worth at the traditional costume parade. Around 800 traditional costumes from North and South Tyrol were presented to lively marching music. Afterwards, people danced to country folk and other traditional songs in the entire pedestrian zone.
An event with a lot of visitors
This year's craft festival on 9 and 10 September was once again one of the biggest events on Tyrol's high plateau and showed that the Seefeld pedestrian zone is one of the most popular village centres in Tyrol. Visitors and exhibitors spoke of the "most beautiful craft market far and wide".
Thanks to our partner Invenium Data Insights, we can now back up these subjective impressions with figures. Almost 20,000 people visited the craft fair, about a quarter were international guests, three quarters came from Austria. The main influx came from the region and the immediate neighbouring regions, which shows us how much the traditional event is appreciated by the locals. We are particularly pleased with the length of stay of the visitors: on average they took three hours to explore and enjoy the market. There is hardly any greater praise for our stallholders and musicians.
Furthermore, the numbers impressively prove what could also be experienced live on site: Traditional crafts are still highly appreciated by all age groups and genders and connect people across all borders. The future of the Handicraft Festival is thus assured and, we hope, also that of the handicraft itself. In any case, the Seefeld region is already looking forward to making its contribution again on 7 and 8 September 2024.