Horse market takes place Wednesday in Quirnbach

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A fest of a special kind lures visitors every second Wednesday in November to Quirnbach. It’s the “Quirnbach horse market.” The event will include vendors, food specialties, musical entertainment and a raffle.

“Last year about 15,000 visitors joined us for our horse market,” said the mayor of Quirnbach, Hans Harth.

The event does not only highlight horses.  About 80 horses of 12 breeds will be presented starting at 10 a.m. In between the presentation of each single horse, there will be show performances. After the awarding ceremony, some horses will be up for sale.

 “We’ll have about 110 vendors stands offering a variety of merchandise including clothes, art and crafts items, jewelry and sweets,” said Harth. Food stands will serve potato waffles, weisswurst, pea soup, ham hocks and more.

A brass band will start playing at 11 a.m. in the heated fest tent. At night, the band Frontal will perform starting at 7 p.m.

The horse market is also known for its lottery, where nice prizes can be won. Prizes include a 7-day boat cruise for two persons, a 4-day trip to Prague for two persons and more.

Quirnbach is known for having a long market tradition. In 1444, historical documents mention the first market called “Bartholomäusmarkt.” The local church, Bartholomäus Church was known as a place for pilgrimage. With the pilgrims the vendors came to sell all kinds of merchandise. Quirnbach turned into a community with monthly markets after the town of Kusel was burnt down during the French Revolution in 1794.

The Kusel markets had to move to Quirnbach. According to a document dated April 26, 1799, every third day of the month a cattle market was authorized. After Kusel was rebuilt, city officials wanted the markets back. But vendors and farmers from the local areas and even neighboring countries wanted to keep going to Quirnbach.
In the years 1856 and 1857, 25 markets were held each year in Quirnbach. Local people made good money with the many restaurants and taverns they needed to feed all the visitors. Until around 1900, every second house in the village was turned into such a place.

After around the middle of the 19th century, horses were not only owned by noble people but also used as draught animals by farmers. Quirnbach decided to hold its first horse market on Saint Martin’s Day of 1877. The date in November was a good one for farmers. The crop was in and the financial situation was balanced. People had the time to visit the horse market. They sat together, celebrated and had fun. They started having dances. Since at that time it still was customary for parents to engage their children (without asking them), the horse market turned into the “marriage market.”

Also, the village asked the government to give authorization to hold a lottery, where people could win household items and agricultural machines. The main prizes were horses. The first time, 5,000 lottery tickets were sold. In 1892, 24,000 tickets were sold and in 1893, more than 300 ticket vendors traveled through the Pfalz to sell the tickets.

After World War II and due to a growing motorization of agriculture, the cattle and horse market lost its importance. Better streets allowed farmers to visit their cattle dealers at any time and not only during the market.

Soon Bartholomäusmarkt was celebrated as a village carnival.
In the beginning of the 1980s, community officials, local clubs and business people helped to revive the horse market and the lottery.

Quirnbach is located near Glan-Münchweiler on autobahn A62.

“We are asking visitors to notice that traffic on L359 from Quirnbach direction Rehweiler will be turned into a one way street. Parking is only authorized on one side,” said Harth. Also, there will be a one way road rule for the street from Quirnbach to the Delmeshof restaurant. Parking violators will be towed off.
“We are wishing all our visitors a pleasant stay,” said Harth.