Once a year, the woods above Tulfes in Austria become a magical world where fairy tales come alive. On this day, it is not uncommon to hear children’s laughter ring out among the trees as they encounter their favourite fairy tale characters.
The 8th Tulfes Märchenwanderung on Saturday, 22 July 2017 was a huge success, with an official spectator count of 591 people. They were treated to charming performances by local actors, big and small, on five forest stages along the fairy tale trail.
This year, we were transported to the world of make-believe by characters from the Brothers Grimm’s The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids, The Frog Prince, and The Griffin. Rübezahl, the folklore mountain spirit, and Maya the Bee and her friends also made an appearance.
Judged by the audience response, Rübezahl, Maya and friends, and The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids were the favourites. And if I was to say which cast enjoyed themselves most, it would be the happy, dancing and jumping Maya, Flip, Willi and gang. I must also commend the all kid cast of The Frog Prince.
My vote for best production overall goes to The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids. The story was easy to follow, the costumes and the acting were great, and the kids in the audience were totally entranced.
The highlight for Mattheus? The sweets handed out by the cast members at the end of each performance. And trying to figure out which of his school friends or acquaintances are hidden behind the costumes or masks. Part of the charm of the fairy tale hike for us is that we recognise most of the actors from town.
In case you wondered whether all 591 people set out at the same time, the answer is no. You are divided into groups depending on the time of your arrival, with each group departing at intervals of 20 minutes. And although the different forest stages are far enough apart that they are out of sight of each other, it’s never too far or steep to really get out of breath.
- The circular fairy tale hike starts at the Halsmarter restaurant close to the middle station of the Glungezer cable way. From there, it circles around the Kugelwald, a unique children’s play park with a variety of wooden “marble” runs among the trees.
- Each play is produced by a different association or club in Tulfes.
- The duration of the hike, including the performances, is about 1,5 hours.
- On the day, the cable car ride to Halsmarter is free for children. The registration fee of €3,50 per kid for the hike includes a cool drink, a choice of a water bottle, outdoor cushion or buff, a muesli bar and an apple or carrot.
- Adults pay for the cable car, and are expected to give a voluntary donation for the hike (no goodies included).
- Apart from the Kugelwald, Halsmarter has a big sandpit with toys, and bungee trampoline (@ €5 per turn).
- The proceeds of the Märchenwanderung go to a charitable cause.