Festivals and country fairs are a traveler's holy grails. There is always a lot to see, there's always plenty of "culture," there are opportunities for photos and good food, strange happenings and chances to really get at a country's soul. So we made sure to make it to the Seljord Dyrsku’n, the largest farm festival in Norway and a perfect way to begin the Autumn.
The Dyrsku’n began in 1856, as a simple cattle show put on by the local Telemark government. The event has grown to include show-goats, horses, sheep and even - in the exhibition barn - pigs and llamas. The animals are shown in some obscure set of categories, with age and breed seeming to play a part. This young agriculturalist and his charge were enviably calm.
like fairs anywhere, there are spinning attractions and fried foods at the Dyrsku’n. Unlike fairs in other places, though, the noise and chaos are kept to a minimum. There are no barkers and the rides and pop-shot booths don't play music. And through it all, surrounded by green mountains and under September sun, there is a parade of heifers and fiddles. For a few moments on the midway, as the cows go past, it feels as much like the 19th century as the 21st. Everyone stops and claps, a few young animals kick up their heels. There are top hats and black vests, young men in sneakers. The audience holds paper plates loaded with waffles and sausages. The Dyrsku’n is a celebratory festival, not really a carnival.
website proclaims that one can "find almost anything that money can buy – from the very latest in agricultural machinery to old clocks, sports gear and ecological food." There are almost six hundred exhibitors. Even local car salesmen have booths. We saw a man selling herring in a sea captains cap and Finnish saunas lined up alongside pellet stoves. Cherry pickers loomed over it all like giant cattails.