St. Martin's Market
"Wenn et rähnt un schneit, es die Herrster Meß net weit." (local saying „when it rains and snows, the fair of Herrstein isn't far away“). The day before the market (it was held the Thursday after St. Martin's Day which was on November 11th) there was a big session of baking cakes in the local bakehouse.
At the day of the market you could already hear the participants enter the town before daybreak. At midmorning of the first market day there was an animal market taking place, at noon there was a fleamarket.
Even from far away people came to do the shopping at the tanners and cloth-makers and to buy the goods they wouldn't be able to get in their villages. Among the stalls, the ones of the cotton spinners right in front of the clock tower took a lot of space.
At the local tradespeople customers were invited for coffee, sometimes even for dinner. Inside the taverns where fresh wine and local beer was offered, was always a bustle. In the evening there was a ball for non-locals at the hall of one of the taverns. The people from Herrstein had their own ball a few days after the market.
Nowadays, the market takes place on the first weekend of November. But same as before, there is a big fleamarket with more than 80 stalls and a huge variety of offers.
Furthermore, there are also live concerts, fireworks in the evening, children's merry-go-rounds, traditional farmhouse bread from Herrstein's old bakehouse, boiled belly pork, sugar pretzels for the children, mulled wine and many other treats. Saturday evening you can visit the rock concert at the local gym.
The St. Martin's Market is finished on Sunday with a big parade from the kindergarten along the main street ending on the market place. It consists of more than 300 children, the youth brass orchestra and St. Martin on horseback.
A propos St. Martin: Martin of Tours, who remains one of the most popular saint of France to this day, was born in 317 A.D., as son of a Roman soldier. He had to become a soldier at a young age, just like his father did. During his term of service near the French town Amiens he gave half of his cloak to a poor persons and saved him from freezing to death. After leaving the army he lived as a hermit on an island and was elected bishop by the people because of his helpfulness. Martin of Tours died in 397 in Candes at the Loire.