“Now it’s OUR turn to have some fun!” How amusing to think that just a couple of decades ago, the residing pastor of Bratto organized such a unique celebration that its popularity would grow to see the 20th edition this year. The premise behind it all was this: since summer tourism engaged much of the local populace, Don Leone Lussana declared the early week of October as a time for the villagers to relax with some good fun, great food, and cute sheep!
That, in a nutshell, is what Pegher Fest amounts to in this little slice of the Bergamo Alps. But all of this is not without a certain amount of irony in light of Bratto’s roots. Owing its humble beginnings to the sheep that once grazed the land and the shepherds that tended them, the town’s deep-rooted connection to ovines was such that it earned inhabitants the nickname of pegher (pecora/sheep).
While Saturday enjoys a program of delicious local cuisine and lively entertainment, Sunday tops the festival with a parade after morning mass. Five of the local contrade (districts), all dressed according to a chosen theme, walk in procession toward the central hub of activity set within the sports field. This year it was fairy tales and there was quite a turnout for the event. A great big lunch followed parade activities but we didn’t stay since there was just too many people.
For more photos of Pegher Fest, view the set on Flickr.
Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Alice in Wonderland, Pinocchio and their collective entourage delighted the public among cheers and bleats. Cinderella (below) behaved like a pro while Snow White was a little bit shy. The Queen of Hearts, on the other hand, suffered a small breakdown when the crowds got to be too much. All in all it was a great day and there were a lot of little dogs present. As usual, our two sniffed out a few canine friends in the midst of all that chaos.
Note: the parade is not a solo procession but rather several groups coming from different directions and converging in the center (at the church), before continuing on to the sports field. The best place to view all participants is along the railing just above the entrance gate to the sports field. For great photos it’s better to get around on foot as the paraders are not sheepish about posing.