Whether it’s on a big scale with lots of cattle and even more people, like in Obermaiselstein or Gunzesried-Ofterschwang, smaller like in Bolsterlang or really family-based like in Balderschwang, the cattle drive is an impressive experience in the Hoernerdoerfer mountain villages.
The cattle with their bright cow bells, the smartly turned out alpine farmers and locals in traditional dress, plus music and delicious treats. It’s the epitome of a festival.
The cattle drive is the highlight of the year for the alpine farmers. It takes place every year in September when the alpine summer comes to an end for the cattle and the animals are returned to their owners. The term “Viehscheid” for cattle drive is all about disbanding and dividing up the summer herd. The Allgaeu word has its origin in the Alemannic language. The tradition can be traced back to 1059 AD. The first cattle drive was mentioned in the Oberstdorf region at this time. Even back then, the herders drove the young cattle back down to the valley.
The animals traditionally wear garlands of flowers and big bells as festive decoration. They’re placed around the animals’ necks the day before the cattle drive. The beautiful garland, which decorates the lead animal in the alpine procession as a sign of an accident-free alpine summer, is bound out of mountain flowers and fir branches by hard-working hands. Many thousands of visitors flock to these cattle drive festivals every year, a hearty supporting programme with beer tent and live music are of course a must.