Wittlich invites to famous pig burner's festival this month

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE- Germany -- Festival season is in full swing in the Eifel region. The next big festival to come, which takes place right at the doorsteps of the base is the Wittlich Pig Burner's Festival, scheduled for Aug. 16-19.

Those people who trust legends can certainly understand why Wittlich residents roast pigs to this today in memory of a very sad event that took place years ago: legend has it that a gate guard, who was charged with securing the gate to the walled fortress city, couldn't find the peg to the door one evening. Instead, he used a carrot. Unfortunately a pig arrived, ate the carrot, causing the door to open allowing the enemy to come in. As a result, the angry citizens herded every pig into a fire in the market square and roasted them.

It is not surprising that the popular festival starts off with a play, featuring this amusing legend. Although the play is in German and goes on for quite a long time, it may be an experience for base members to see the introduction and take photos of the actors, some of them dressed in various pig costumes.

This year's play is scheduled for 9:30 p.m., Aug. 16 at the Wittlich Stadtpark or city park. Beware that prior to the play, a local gun club will fire off some salute shots at about 9:15 p.m. As a highlight, following the play, a torch light procession will march into the market square to signify the opening of the pig burner's festival. This is a great event.
The "Tooltime" band will be in place at Pariser Platz, entertaining visitors from 9-1 a.m., Aug. 16-17.

Activities continue Aug. 17 with a craftsmen's market on the city's Lieserplatz from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day of the festival featuring handcraft items at a decent cost.

Among the highlights of each year's event is also the arrival of the first pigs via horse-drawn wagon in the market square. This happens at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17. Then the first pigs will be roasted on the spits and the "Schweinebraten" or barbecued pork, will be ready at 3:30 p.m.

Visitors, who would like to taste the popular pork schnitzel must buy tickets first and then exchange them for the meal. These tickets may be purchased at the tourist information office's window in the market square, not far from the roast booth.

The busiest time of the festival is Saturday, Aug. 17, between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. the next morning. It is not recommended to bring small children to the festival at this time because of the large crowds.

Wine stands open up and musical entertainment will be provided throughout the pedestrian zone, both in the market square and in the nearby Pariser Platz as well as in front of the "Schlossgalerie" shopping mall.
On schedule are performances by the Hupperath music association starting at 3 p.m. with music by DJs Skytrain and Sunflower following, and entertainment by the bands "Celebration" and "Gooseflesh" following throughout the evening Aug. 17.

Activities continue Sunday, Aug. 18, with musical performances by various local bands, starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 6 p.m. Schweinebraten or pork meat will be available to visitors again from noon-midnight Aug. 18. Handpicked bands will play from 8:30 p.m.-midnight on various stages throughout the city. Evening entertainment includes two laser shows, which will last 15 minutes each, taking place at 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. at the central bus station, located between the amusement park and festival areas.

Activities continue Monday, Aug. 19, with more concerts by local bands, starting at 11 a.m. Schweinebraten or pork meat will be available at noon. Children's entertainment will take place from 3-4 p.m.

Food booths of any kind can be found throughout the festival and at the amusement park, that offers more than 60 rides and game stands. A flower auction is popular among the festival visitors every year, offering various plants at low cost. The flower truck can be found on the street in the amusement park area.

Although the pig burner's festival officially comes to an end late Monday night, the amusement park and food stands remain open Tuesday from 1 until 7 p.m. when Wittlich offers a family day, offering reduced prices for kids.

For those who plan to take children, be aware that the city gets very crowded and that alcohol is consumed at the event. It is not recommended to bring strollers during the high- peak- times of the festival.

People driving to the festival should remember not to drink and drive. Be safe. Taxis will be available and increased police patrols will be enforcing the laws throughout the pig festival. People must arrange transportation prior to consuming alcohol at the festival.