Pig out in Wittlich

Story and photo by Iris Reiff
Contributing writer

The Pig Burners Legend:
According to legend, 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.

***image1***If an ancient legend still applies, the Wittlich townspeople will make sure to catch every pig in town, roast them on a spit and eat the pork during a four-day long festival that has become quite popular, drawing more than 10,000 people from all over the country.

The Wittlich Pig Burners Festival takes place this year from Friday to Monday.
Activities will start off with the opening of an attractive craftsmen’s market on the city’s Lieserplatz at 11 a.m. Friday.

The market remains open from 10 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily for the duration of the festival. All wine stands and food booths will be open by 5 p.m.

A large-scale amusement park, located in the Schlossplatz area, will open its doors to rides and booths at 6:30 p.m., after the Wittlich-Bombogen Band traditionally opened the scene with entertainment music near the giant Ferris wheel.

From 9:30 p.m. to midnight, visitors can enjoy brass music, provided by the Wittlich City Orchestra, in the town’s main market square.

This is where a good majority of activities will occur, such as live concerts, the roasting of more than 100 pigs, wine tasting, singing, dancing and more. The market square usually attracts crowds of visitors who all come for the same reason, which is to have a good time.

Local residents put on a play at 9:15 p.m. in the city park and have a torch lighting procession through the streets of Wittlich, recreating the circumstances of the legend.

Music will be provided by the Alles Banane band at 9:30 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, the first pigs will be brought into the market square on a horse-drawn wagon.

The festive parade, consisting of bands, fanfares and people dressed up in medieval customs, will start off on Kurfuerstenstrasse, then lead through Schloss Strasse, continue through Karrstrasse and end in the market square.
Observers will stand on the roads watching the traditional spectacle.

At 3 p.m. Saturday, members of the city council will speak welcome words in the market square.
After the speeches, the first pork meals will be available for purchase in the market square. As is the case with many European festivals, visitors first buy tickets, which are in turn exchanged for the delicious pork.

Tickets may be purchased at the tourist information office’s window in the market square, across the street from the pork booth.

 Between 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday, music will be played by numerous local bands. Dance and show music by Take Five & Friends will be performed starting at 9 p.m. in the main market square.

The Chock-a-Block band will entertain on a second stage, which is located in the Pariser Platz area, just around the corner from the market square.
Activities will continue Tuesday with both brass band and jazz music in the market square and on Pariser Platz. Music will be performed throughout the entire day on both stages.

The Mary Greenwood Band will perform a concert from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Pariser Platz. 
Musical entertainment will continue until 9 p.m. by various bands. 

Music Affair will be in concert from 9 a.m. until after midnight in the market square.
The Sound of Silence Band will play titles by the Beatles from 9 a.m. until about 1 a.m. the next morning on Pariser Platz.
Monday’s activities include a concert by the Wittlich Brass Orchestra from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the main market square, children’s entertainment from 3 to 4 p.m. in the market square, children’s face painting from 4 to 5 p.m. on Pariser Platz and musical entertainment by local bands from 5 to 7 p.m. on both stages.

Dance and show music will occur from 9 a.m. until the next morning. Evening music will be provided by the Flavius & Eurosound Band in the market square and by the Crossing Band on Pariser Platz.