The street is full of life, children singing, adults laughing and the atmosphere is electric; tonight is Ellmau’s Sommernacht’s fest.
Sommernacht fest is a weekly tradition here where the village is turned into a completely pedestrianised area and every hotel and craftsman share their produce with the community. Home brewed schnapps, hand crafted jewellery, utensils and of course, Bratwurst, are brought out in their masses. This week, the main attraction ‘Die Grubertaler’ – 3 brothers who’re famous all over the Tirol for their art of mixing traditional and pop music – entertain a large crowd who are really getting involved. As we walked down the street I could immediately see why, everyone had linked arms and were singing in unison their beloved song ‘Dem Land Tirol die Treue’. The sense of pride and joy this community has is infectious and before we knew it, we were attempting to sing along too. In Ellmau we are lucky enough to have this tradition every Tuesday night.
A few weeks prior to this, Ellmau had hosted the ‘Kaiserschmarrn’ festival, an event dedicated to the traditional pancake dish, normally made with raisins and served with apple sauce on the side. However this festival brought people from all over the Tirol, all showing off their culinary delights. There were plenty of pancakes with sausage and sauerkraut along with my personal favourite, blueberries and vanilla ice cream. Here in the Tirol, every weekend throughout the summer every village or town hosts its own ‘Dorffest’ (village festival), normally organised by the local council or farming association. It starts with a parade with everyone in their traditional ‘Tracht’, dirndls and lederhosen specific to that village, and then the local brass band and choir will lead the procession through the village! Here are some of my personal top tips for these events:
What to eat? Grillhendl. Half a chicken roasted with spices and a marinade that keeps the chicken succulent accompanied by a bread ‘semmel’ roll.
What to drink? A ‘Hugo’. A summery beverage with prosecco, sparkling water, elderflower cordial, lime and mint.
What to see? The local bands. Ranging from groups of men clad in lederhosen playing their brass instruments to rock bands playing the ultimate classics, one thing is for certain, you won’t be able to stop yourself from dancing!
What to buy? Everything! Homemade speck and cheese, handcrafted wooden objects for the house, schnapps made from fresh fruit from the local area… These are just some of the delights you can find at these festivals.
For children there are bouncy castles, face painting, climbing walls and arranged activities which involve the whole family. These festivals are just one of the many highlights Austria has to offer during the summer and I would recommend anyone visiting to seek one out, however if you follow your sense of adventure and the sound of enjoyment, you’ll be there before you know it.
Blog by Olivia, Inghams Representative in Ellmau.