When the goats leave the high pastures and seek shelter in the valley before winter sets in, Bad Hofgastein hosts a big celebration every other year. This year, it's that time again!
"Goass" is a regional dialect word for "goat". Goats make an immense contribution to agriculture. You can use the animals' milk, pelt and, of course, their meat. In the western world, especially, the goat is being supplanted by the sheep (for its wool), the cow (for its milk) and the pig (for its meat). But that's not the case in Gastein. Here, the domesticated goat, descended from the wild goat, is still very popular. Goats spend peaceful lives either at farms in the valley or, in summer, up on the high pastures.
During the summer months, goats lead a relaxed lifestyle grazing out on the alpine pastures operated by local farmers. Even though they love nothing more than to greet hikers coming their way, they also make an important contribution: By eating up the weeds and small shrubs, they insure that the alpine meadows remain healthy and pristine. So, furry landscape gardeners indeed!
As summer draws to a close, the goats have to be driven back to the valley before the first snowfall. An event celebrated every other year in Gastein with a big country fair. This year's Goassabtrieb will be taking place on 26 October. Early in the morning, the goatherds will set out to gather their goats from the surrounding meadows. On this particular day, over 80 animals will leave their summer pastures. Back in Gastein Valley, at the Schmaranzbauer Farm in Bad Hofgastein, locals and guests gather, ready to welcome the goats and their herdsmen back at around 1 p.m. with music and dancing.
Join us, as the goats - accompanied by all kinds of fanfare - return home to Bad Hofgastein. An ancient tradition, yet one that remains alive and well to this day. Definitely worthy of celebration in the form of music and dance.