Smashing the Old Herring Barrel. Prerow is still home to real knightly tournaments, where horsemanship, precision, and a strong arm can make a man king for the day at the traditional barrel smashing event. But you don’t want to fall off your horse and be crowned “King of the Sand”.
All of Prerow eagerly awaits the last Sunday in July because that’s when the traditional barrel smashing tournament takes place. The day begins with the great parade of the barrel brothers and sisters. With great fanfare and trumpets, the reigning champion is picked up at his house door and brought to the tournament grounds where the barrel awaits the action. In genuine Baltic style, it’s an old herring barrel, decorated with oak leaves and the blue and white colours of Pomerania. The aim is for riders to smash the barrel with a wooden club as they ride past. This is no mean feat! It requires plenty of strength and skill and a lot of riding experience.
That’s why there are several titles to be won:
- One for smashing the barrel to the ground.
- One for taking out the last connecting rod.
- And one for smashing the very last piece.
- Oh, and then there’s the “King of the Sand”, awarded for falling off one’s horse and kissing the sand. Not a title anyone wants to win.
After the spectacle, the kings and the losers dance at the traditional barrel smashing ball, where music, regional delicacies, and plenty of alcohol ensure any failures and crashes are quickly forgotten.