The Marlengo Apple Crown
Highlight of the Grape Festival Merano
The Marlengo Apple Crown
The Grape Festival is staged in Merano/Meran every year, on the third weekend in October. Open-air concerts and the large procession with a number of decorated floats are the highlight of the traditional “Autumn in Merano” events program. But this year the large procession and the concerts take not place.
Of all the eye-catching floats on parade, the Apple Crown float from Marlengo/Marling tops them all. Made up of over half a ton of apples and 700 dianthus flowers, the Apple Crown float goes back as far as the Grape Festival in 1949 and still remains an integral part of the procession today. Even at the end of the Festival, the Apple Crown is kept on show for a few weeks at the Marlengo town square.

During the procession the float is drawn by four magnificent horses, of the local Haflinger breed. The Apple Crown float contains baskets filled with “Jonagold“ apples, which are handed out to enthusiastic spectators cheering the procession. The float also carries a number of children while six couples in traditional local costumes walk alongside, three on one side and the other three on the other. Each couple carries baskets brimming with typical autumn fare, such as apples, grapes and chestnuts.

In the days leading up to the Merano Grape Festival, the Marlengo Apple Crown is prepared for this important annual event. Since 1984, the float has been under the ownership of local farmer and President of the Tourist Association, Alois Arquin, who continues the old tradition.

On Thursday afternoon before the big event the day after, volunteers cut and prepare the boxwood from dense bushes, decorating the surface of the vehicle in green. The baskets are already in position. The green, leafy carpet is affixed by six women, while the men procure ivy and blackberry branches, from which garlands are intertwined.

On the Friday, more than 600 kg of “Jonagold” apples are loaded into the waiting baskets, supplied by the COFRUM Apple Farmers Cooperative in Marlengo. No less than 14 kg nails are also used for the decorations.
On Saturday, it is the turn of the gardeners. The gardeners decorate the float with 700 dianthus flowers, donated by the Merano Tourism Association. All in all, getting the float ready keeps a number of people busy for at least three days. Over 5 m in length and 2.20 m wide, this remarkable float weighs 2.3 tons and is towed by four sturdy Haflinger horses.