Each year a tale about an epic battle between St. George and a dragon takes the stage and transforms this Bavarian town.
By Marlene Fanta Shyer
For 351 days of the year, a walk through Furth im Wald reveals a typical tranquil Bavarian scene as its nine thousand inhabitants go about the business of their daily lives. In warm weather locals sit under cafe umbrellas surely enjoying a beer with their lunch, or riding a bike along the city streets, or strolling past one of its ancient landmarks.
All this changes dramatically during the first two weeks of August, when Furth becomes an entirely different city, a dragon-centered mecca for 68,000 tourists. Little by little the place is transformed as people flock here for the “Drachenstich”—slaying of the dragon—festival. The event pivots on the main attraction, an outdoor performance of St. George’s swashbuckling fight against the colossal, famous, fire-breathing beast. This takes place in the stadium-like theater set up in the city’s main square, which seats 1600, costs 28 euros per ticket and has a fourteen-night run. There are lines of spectators, a standing-room-only section, press cameras flashing, and a celebratory enthusiasm among the throngs watching the outdoor spectacle. The show is performed rain or shine.
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