Wittlich commemorates legend with annual pig fest

  • Published
  • By Iris Reiff
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Legend has it that Wittlich was once a walled fortress constantly under attack by invaders.

One evening a guard charged with locking the gate to the besieged town couldn't find the peg to secure the fortified door. All he could find was a large carrot to wedge in the door. Later, a pig ate the carrot, the gate opened and the enemy came in. After the enemy ransacked the town, the angry townspeople herded every pig into the town's market square and roasted them.

Since then, the town of Wittlich has been known as the town of the pig burners.

To commemorate the event, Wittlich holds an annual pig festival that takes place Aug. 20-23 this year.

A craftsmen's market on the city's Lieserplatz is open 11 a.m.- to 11 p.m. every day of the festival. A concert by the Wittlich 1921 e.V. brass band will take place 9 p.m. in the city's main market square while the locally known "Chock-A-Block" band will play 9 p.m.-1 a.m. on Pariser Platz Aug. 20. Wine stands will open 5 p.m.

Local residents put on a play 9:30 p.m. Aug. 20 in the Rommelbach city park followed by a torch light procession through the streets of Wittlich. The event starts off from the Tuermchen tower, reenacting the the legend. The play involves a legend reading in German.
An amusement park opens 6:30 a.m. Aug. 20 and offers more than 60 rides and game stands throughout the festival. The amusement park area is open every day of the festival.

Wittlich's annual pig festival continues 2:30 p.m. Aug. 21 after the first pigs arrive in the market place via a horse-drawn wagon. Then the first pigs will be roasted on the spits and Schweinebraten, or barbecued pork, is available to eat sometime between 3 and 4 p.m. Aug. 21. As is the case with many European festivals, visitors buy tickets, which may be purchased at the tourist information office's window in the market square.

Musical entertainment by the Hupperath music association will be offered 5-7 p.m. Aug. 21 on Pariser Platz. Music in the market square 6 p.m. Aug. 21 includes performances by DJ Skytrain, DJ Sunflower and the "Vibes" band.

Activities continue Aug. 22 and feature musical performances by various local bands, starting 10:30 a.m. in various locations throughout the pedestrian area. Concerts by several local music bands and music associations are scheduled noon-6 p.m. "Betty Booster" and "Rocco & Friends" will be on stage 9 p.m.-midnight on Pariser Platz and in the market square. Schweinebraten will be available noon Aug. 22.

The city is expected to be crowded Aug. 21 throughout the entire day, especially at night, and in the evening Sunday. It is not recommended to bring small children Saturday evening.

Children's entertainment will take place 3-4 p.m. Aug. 23. in the market square with music afterward. Celebrations will end with musical entertainment by "Sky" and "Funk Fever" in the main market square and on Pariser Platz.

Although pig fest officially comes to an end late in the evening Aug. 23, the amusement park and food stands will be open Tuesday 1-7 p.m. when Wittlich provides a family day with reduced prices for everyone.

Visitors can also go to an art exhibition at the Rathaus, or city hall, open throughout the festival.

The Wittlich pig festival is a popular celebration in the Eifel area, and festival organizers expect thousands of visitors. The center of the town will be blocked off from traffic because all celebrations occur either in the market square or close to the center of town.

People driving to the festival should remember to arrange transportation ahead of time after consuming alcohol. Police controls will be enforced every day of the festival, according to organizers.