Here on the equestrian meadows in Billigheim there is a plenty of activity on the 3rd Sunday of September, when a southern Palatinate village becomes unhinged! That's when the traditional Purzelfest (Purzel Festival) takes place.
The Billigheim Purzel Market is the oldest folk festival in the Palatinate and has been celebrated for over 500 years. Back in the Middle Ages, Billigheim was a place of economic importance; the village received municipal rights and market freedom in the 15th century. On 27 April 1450, King Frederick III granted the village of "Büllikem" the right to hold a weekly market on Wednesdays and a 3-day fair on the Sunday before St. Gallus (16 October). The weekly market no longer exists, but Gallus Market can look back on a long history.
Initially, Gallus Market was celebrated together with the Kirchweih (church fair) from Sunday to Tuesday. To round things off, a market closing party was held on Tuesdays, which attracted visitors from near and far. Peculiar games and competitions were held to entertain people. The "Purzeln" was one of these games, which later gave the market the name "Purzelmarkt" ("Purzel Market"). Disciplines like tree climbing, water carrying, rep cloth jumping, ring jumping and, later in the 19th century, riding competitions were also on the agenda.
Purzel Market is still celebrated as a major event to this day by locals and visitors alike, and traditions have been preserved. Although the folk festival now takes place from Friday to Sunday in September and begins with the coronation of the new Purzel Market queen, it still ends with a large festival parade and folk competitions on the Sunday.
Welcome to the Purzel Market in Billigheim! Cheers. Here's to the Palatinate!