City Life

Major Events and other Traditions

Today The 7 Bier-Bock-Böck are just six, cause Peter Müller still has to work!


Yes, they still do exist, those tiny bands playing for amusements sake. They got to know each other at Marktoberdorfs classic band, playing music for wind on the highest level.


The associations take a major role –whether it is music, livery or sports there is one for everybody. Many events are taking place thanks to the vivid club life. Without the voluntary organisations there would be no spring fire to banish the winter witch, no maypole, no county music festival or beer tents in the main town and districts. Well known amongst bikers is the annual ToyRun of Marktoberdorf, a beneficial ride for children in need. The Staffel-Mix-Marathon is something special as well, with one skater, one cyclist and one runner and in the end they all celebrate together. Since time began carnival is celebrated with special traditions and habits. On Faschingsonntag (Carnival Sunday) one of the longest carnival procession – the Gaudiwurm - is weaving through the streets of Marktoberdorf with spectacular carriages, music bands and fantastic costumes. Celebrating traditions and rites, keeping their own style and transforming it in a modern way.

Brauchtum | © Bastian Ried

Brauchtum im Jahresverlauf

Who would ever have thought of Marktoberdorf being a stronghold of carnival? The local people have known how to celebrate for centuries, as documented by the historian Martin Dömling in the chronicles of Marktoberdorf . “Even people whom are living the respectable way are tending to live beyond their measures in order to fully enjoy”. The many carnival balls around Marktoberdorf, the famous and funny carnivals eves in the Modeon and the Gaudiwurm procession are living the spirit of the Oberdorfer Fasenacht – having fun like no one else has. 

The annual Funkenfeuer are a true spectacle on the first Sunday of the Lenten season. Usually the young fellas are piling up large wooden stacks on a small hill. On the top of the stack sits the Funkenhexe (the witch of sparks) – a realistic puppet made from hay and linen. If the witch burns it will be a good year, if the stack collapses before that - is a bad omen. No matter what, the sparks will expel the winter and we can tell you where it happens.

It is the pride of every bavarian community – the maypole. It is lovingly decorated for many hours by the local clubs and associations, before it is put up on first of May, celebrated with traditional music and a morning pint. In Marktoberdorf it is located on the plaza in front of the event center MODEON – exept for it was high jacked by rivaling communities despite high security measures during the “Freinacht” before the first of May. But that didn’t happen in Marktoberdorf for quite a while.

It is a very important event on the catholic calendar and always takes place on the first Thursday after Whitsun – Corpus Christi. In Marktoberdorf the ancient tradition of the Corpus Christi procession is well alive. Together with the faithfull and a music band, the priest is wandering through the decorated streets. At the centerpoint of the procession stands the holy mass, the high event of body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated under open skies – what a magnificent tradition.

It smells of yarrow, thyme and St Johns wort, a mullein or rose in the middle and decorated with wild flowers. Ever year the diligent women are confecting herb bundles on Maria Himmelfahrt (Assumption Day) 15th of August and let them sanctify in the church.

Back at home the fragrant pieces of art are supposed to spread a healing effect. In the early ages, those bundles were even fed to the cattle. There are still some very active Herb bundling professionals – just have a look.

Marktoberdorf has always been stamped with being countrified. There is a reason why the Dieselross, the first tractor, was delevoped here and is still built in Marktoberdorf. Thanksgiving is celebrated with a large festivity including the blessing of the gifts in the church, an artful thanksgiving-crown and a feast in the taverns or at home. Celebrate with us – on the first Sunday in October !

Marktoberdorf is St Martin's city. The City’s church is dedicated to the famous saint, a primary school carries its legacy and ever year the children of Marktoberdorf are celebrating his commemoration day. With colorful and self-made lanterns the little ones are strolling across the town and sing together with their parents – St. Martin is a good man, helping where he can.

Hunting of the Klausen is a wild rite - scary looking Klausen (costumes of demons of the wild, with horns and chains, bells and wild fur) are driving cheeky boys and girls through the streets of the village. In Marktoberdorf, the Nikolaus is a lovely man and distributes sweets to the well behaved children while the Christmas market is open. But in the surrounding villages there are many naughty children – we can tell you where..

During the weeks from christmas eve to the epiphany there are specifically many ghosts haunting, as written in tales. In order to protect themselves the Allgäuer people try to expel those ghosts with rumpus and smoke. The herb bundles get burned and fireworks shot. Some say, this might be the origin of the fireworks on modern new year’s eves. Celebrate with us.

Our Major Events

It is the biggest and most beautiful carnival procession in all of Swabia – the Oberdorfer Gaudiwurm! Exactly at 13:30 the procession starts on Carnival Sunday every year in front of the towns hall and weaves on a 3,5km tour though the inner city. Spectacular trailers, awesome costumes, a variety of bands and witty hosts guarantee an outstanding event. Thousands of exited visitors are coming every year to shout the battle cry of the Oberdorfer Fasnacht – He Du Hee!

In 2003 some passionate bikers formed the idea to organize a beneficial ride to generate money for a playroom of a child’s oncology hospital. Up till today this idea unites hundreds of bikers every year. More than a 1.000 came last year and the money raised until today sums up to more than 100.000 €. Visitors are impressed by this epic picture of a never ending line of bikers on their roaring machines, when they start their tour. Mid of June they assemble again..

Marktoberdorf goes international during Whitsun. The International Chamber Choir Competition and the Musica Sacra take place in a yearly turn during this time. The best amateur choirs around the globe meet for the competition and with Musica Sacra, music casts from every part of the world are giving an insight into the musical world of their religions. Both festivals stand for intercultural dialogue through music and bring unique concerts and experiences to Marktoberdorf. You don’t want to miss this.

Once every year, at the end of June the street festival is taking place at the streets next to the Rathaus. Stands are put up in the early morning, preparing for the flea market, soon to be followed by the first treasure hunters on the search for rarities. At 8 o’clock the traditional “Weißwürste” (White sausages) are ready to serve and the other food stands from local clubs and associations are opening with fine street food. Kids programme and live bands take care of the entertainment for every age group. Come celebrate!

A skater, a cyclist and a runner, these are the kind of sports at the Staffel-Mix-Marathon in Marktoberdorf. Every second year, the whole city is involved, whether as a team of three or as a motivator and spectator at the course. Celebrations then happen at the market place - all together, because participation is the goal.  


The Night of the museum happens on a fixed date all across the country. The museums in Marktoberdorf have special events and attractions taking place to attract the people. There is so much to explore, in the cities , the homeland, the giant mountain and the Paul-Röder-museum as well as in the artists gallery – stay curious.

Every year at the end of July the Bavarian Music Academy invites for a romantic night at the castle. Everyone is invited free of charge to come and join. Small concerts of the well known Mendelssohn Vocal Cast and their musical friends take place in- and outdoor in the inside and inner courtyard, sometimes even in the neighbouring church, offering musical joy on the highest level without the need to follow strict etiquettes. Come saunter with us.

Usually at the end of June, beginning of July the cities marching band is hosting a concert – and the locals love this traditional orchestra. Chairs are usually occupied within moments, but standing room is plentiful. The marching band is playing music for wind on maximum level and thrills the audience every time with an atmospheric programme. Let yourself carry away.

On the last Friday of October, when the lights remain on at the stores and shops in Markoberdorf even after regular closing time, the starlight sounder begins. The whole city seems on be on the move. Stores and streets are crowded with people sightseeing, trying and tasting, admiring display windows or simply chit-chat. Every shop and store has special actions and events and there is something to see everywhere. Sounder with us.