Lei Lei from Villach - the most Carnivalesque town in Austria! Where it is not only all happening on Carnival Saturday, but where the jesters have their say from 11.11.!Lei Lei from Villach - the most Carnivalesque town in Austria! Where it is not only all happening on Carnival Saturday, but where the jesters have their say from 11.11.!
The Villach Carnival takes place every year in Villach in Carinthia, Austria.
The Villach Carnival was first mentioned
historically in 1867. From 1910, the Villach farmers' union held a farmers'
ball every year, the proceeds of which were used for charitable purposes. Then
in 1955 the idea emerged to turn the farmers' ball into the new Villach
Carnival. Just three years later, over 50 town centre gastronomic
establishments took part in the "Carnival throughout Villach". In
1961, the first "Villach Carnival conference" was carried out at the
Chamber of Labour. In 1964 the Villach farmers' union was formed into the
"Villach Carnival Guild". Since 1972, the events have been taking
place at the Congress Center Villach. In 2001 the Carnival organisers moved
into their own newly-built guildhall as the seat of the society.
The Villach Carnival reaches its annual
highlight on Carnival Saturday at the big Carnival parade through the town
centre. Not only do the Villach jesters present themselves in the most unusual
costumes, but groups from other federal states and other European countries
also take part. In the year 1955, the first royal couple was chosen and in 1967
the first children's royal couple.
Already in the spring, the course is set
for the forthcoming Carnival season: ideas are gathered, new participants are
sought, texts are written, roles are allocated.
From September, rehearsal work starts in
earnest: the troupe practices the new choreographies, the court orchestra (a
16-person big band) practices new pieces, the two choir ensembles rehearse
diligently for their performances, the Villach Gymnastics Club - a fixed
component of the conference programme for decades - trains for the new season
and the performers of speeches start learning texts.
Even for those members who are not
standing on stage, there is plenty to do already in the autumn: the technical
equipment must be maintained and upgraded, new technicians are trained. The
costumes must be selected and made, the props and stage decorations are
produced. The makeup artists work on making the performers look deceptively
similar to the parodied persons.
Then from Christmas the stage is set up
at the event location, the Congress Center Villach, and the technical
facilities are programmed and installed. - all by our specially trained
members, often in many night shifts.
All around Three Kings Day, it really
gets going: we launch into the Carnival season with the so-called "family
conference", a general rehearsal with spectators, consisting of relatives
and acquaintances of our guild members.
Depending on the Carnival duration, we
play our four-hour programme every Thursday, Friday and Saturday until a week
before Carnival Saturday, which is between 12 and 19 events every year. Our
Carnival conference is therefore seen live every year by between 10,000 and
Since the year 1963, ORF broadcasts a
two-hour cut of our programme on Shrove Tuesday during the main evening
In the year 2012 alone, the TV ratings
were increased by 53,000 viewers - despite generally decreasing viewer numbers!
There is a big media hype every year
about the royal couple that will rule the people in the next Carnival. The
presentation takes place with great participation by the locals and the press,
always on the Saturday closest to the 11.11. on the main square in Villach.
The protagonists are kept strictly
confidential, only the guild chancellor - who selects the "royal
couple" - knows who will carry the Carnival sceptre the following year.
There is also plenty on offer for our
young Carnival jesters at the Villach Carnival. The Villach Carnival Guild has
been holding a separate children's Carnival conference since the year 1966!
Every year, 180 children set up an
approximately two-hour programme with music, dancing, speeches and their own
children's troupe. Of course, there are also a children's royal couple and a
A cut of the children's programme of the
Villach Carnival Guild has also been broadcast by ORF for years.
The second big pillar of the Carnival
event in Villach is Carnival Saturday, which is also organised by the Villach
It represents the highlight of Carnival
action in our town. Villach then appears as one big jester stage. The employees
in shops and gastronomic establishments are dressed up and music groups fuel
the atmosphere from the morning hours. To offer even the youngest visitors a
lasting memory of this day, there is a comprehensive children's programme every
Around 150 groups with more than 3000
jesters take part in the afternoon parade every year. The festival parade is
watched by tens of thousands of visitors. The most beautiful and elaborate
costumes are evaluated by a jury in various categories and awarded prizes.
Following the Carnival parade, celebrations continue until the early morning
hours in the gastronomic establishments in Villach town centre.