In the southern part of Jutland you will find many traditional festivals centered on ringridning. The way it is performed is by a horse rider racing his or now in modern times her horse towards a ring and trying to catch it with a spear. Sønderborg is hosting one of the biggest such festivals anywhere.
The festival is going on for a weekend and we just happened to be in town during this weekend. The festival isn’t just the riding there is a lot of stuff going on and there is a big festival square with all sort of carnival going on.
The festival square is a little bit away from the harbor along the coast and through the town. You could probably walk there is you wanted to – but as part of the festival there is a free transport on horse carriage from the castle down at the harbor to the festival square.
We jump up on a horse cart and start riding along the streets of the city. I think most of the people onboard the horse cart is actually locals. There are a couple of kids jumping on as well debating whether or not it is faster to take the horse carriage or just walk home – they never reach a conclusion.
The short drive is actually pretty we go along the water line. Riding by an old beach hotel which overlooks the beach of the city. There is a small harbor on this side of the city as well where the locals have their sailing boats and with the good weather there are still a lot of people down at the beach in the late afternoon.
After a short while we turn away from the beach and go inland for a bit through the city. We have an ever increasing line of cars behind us and when we drive along we see other horse carriages driving back from the festival square to the castle. These horse carriages also have a lot of cars behind them so traffic is slow going during the festival time in the city.
We reach the festival square and we can pay the entrance fee of 40 DKK or a bit over 5€ to go in. we decide not to since the only thing going on at the Saturday afternoon is different carnival rides and some food stalls where you can and have a snack. The actual festival with the riding of the horses won’t be until tomorrow. So instead of going into the festival square we just wait for the next horse carriage driving back through the city and along the beach to the hotel from where we can enjoy a walk along the harbor to our hotel.