CONTRIBUTED BY MICHELLE W.
Note: We took this article out of our archives and dusted it off for 2016. If you are in the Stuttgart area, check out this unique town celebration, which will take place 5-9 February, 2016.
Every second Tuesday in February, Leonberg has celebrated this traditional festival since 1684 when Duke Karl Friedrich approved of the horse market. That means that the 325th Annual Leonberg Pferdmarkt will be celebrated in 2016! An eventful 4-day celebration is perfect for the entire family! Leonberg hosts an amusement park, horse shows and competitions, city wide parade, delicious food and drinks, discos for youth, parties for adults, seminars, Sunday shopping, Storming of the Rathaus, live music and of course, horse trading!
Leonberg is a quaint town in Baden Württemberg located only 10 miles from Stuttgart. This year, the Horse Market festival will begin on February 5th and culminates on the 9th. In the historic Marktplatz in Old Town, there will be over a hundred horses in a variety of breeds and pure beauty ready for new owners. Visitors from all over the world come to see this spectacle and buyers validate a successful deal with a handshake. It’s a sight to see and you can’t help but to pat each horse. Adjacent to this, there will be a competition for mares and teams. Awards are presented at the equestrian stadium and at an exhibition at the edge of the local sports complex.
Around town, there are various events to attend at all hours of the day. The amusement park will be open daily and provide rides for all ages and thrill seekers. Stop by to take a ride on the Ferris wheel and children will have a separate area with a carousel, bumper cars or a mini roller coaster.
The grand finale for this festival is the citywide parade. Hundreds of groups, floats, tractors, horses, and the famous canine breed created here in Leonberg-the Leonberger-will march through the Old Town. Lining the streets, kids are dressed up in their favorite fasching costumes waiting anxiously for prized candies, popcorn and other goodies. For the adults, local wineries and breweries are handing out sample sizes of sekt, schnapps or bier.If you love dogs, come out to see the beautiful “Lion-like” Leonberger breed. This family friendly canine is a cross between a Saint Bernard, Newfoundland and Pyrenees dog. Leonberg’s city crest is a lion and the breed was originally bred to resemble this icon. Not only will the Leonbergers participate in the city parade but the owners will also showcase the dogs near the Reiterstadion.
Tip: This is the one time of year that the vaulted cellars of Leonberg are open for visitors. Great opportunity to view and attend a Besenwirtschaft (locate a broom hung above the entrance to get a drink and small snacks)!
Parking is recommended at various P+R that have public bus stops directly in front of them.