Celebrating a Small Town's Pride

Carolyn and I had the wonderful pleasure of traveling to Markgroeningen, Germany (outside of Stuttgart) to visit with friends and attend their community's Shepherd's Festival which celebrates their agrarian past. This festival dates back more than 500 years.

The event includes a parade through the city streets (just like our July 4 and Christmas parades) and has participation from groups from around the city. And, just as our parade has horses, dogs and other livestock, theirs includes a flock of sheep (this year 200+ sheep) that winds its way through the parade route. Fun to watch!

The Festival takes place over a four-day period and draws approximately 100,000 people to the city. The Festival is unique in the region as it draws on the history of the community.

The main city plaza as seen from the tower of the local church.
This small city (population 12,000) is very much like Purcellville, yet a tad older - the first mention of this community in writing dates back to 779 - nearly 1,000 years before the founding of our own country! And, while we are a bit younger and our folks speak a different language, there are many striking similarities, including:

  • The great pride residents have in their community.
  • The focus on small business. Like Purcellville the majority of their business community is small businesses. In Purcellville more than 90% of our business licenses are held by non-chain stores.
  • Youth sports are an important part of life for the community.
  • The wine industry is very much significantly present. There are dozens of vineyards that make local wines. Even the local fire department has a vineyard from which wine is made - and, by the way, it is very good.
An interesting part of the trip was during the Festival where the Town Band parades in the streets and stops at folks homes to play early in the morning. Our host, Rainer, is a member of the City Council, so at 6:30AM the band stopped to play and then have something to eat and drink. It was fantastic!

We very much enjoyed our stay in this little Town and the great hospitality and warmth the citizens of the community showed their guests. They, like our community, have much to be proud of.

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