Cows' Ball - world's best festivals

Bohinj, Slovenia. Lake. Aerial. 'Bohinj lakeside from air' by ufonczCreative Commons Attribution

Location: Bohinj, Slovenia

Date: third Sunday in September. 15 Sep 2013; 21 Sep 2014; 20 Sep 2015.

Level of participation: 3 - a ticket to the bovine ball

Kitsch, possibly of the unintentional kind, comes out to play at the Cows' Ball. More than 50 years old, the festival marks a winter homecoming; not of men, but of cattle, which return to the alpine Bohinj valley after a summer spent in green pastures. Daisy and friends are truly the belles of the rural ball, as they are decorated with wreaths and shown off on a parade. Accompanied by herders, cheesemakers, milkmaids and other dairy-farming types, they pass Lake Bohinj and, rising 130m above it, Govin Waterfall. The falls are only active after heavy rain, so hopefully there won’t be any spray to spoil the animals’ get-up.

Stands line the cattle convoy, selling wicker and wood souvenirs and, of course, cow’s milk cheese. When you tire of the sound of jingling bells, have a go at folk dancing, log sawing, horseshoe casting and sling shooting.

Essentials: a willingness to try anything, even yodelling, will be appreciated.

Local attractions: September is an ideal month to visit Slovenia because it’s the best time for hiking and climbing, and the summer crowds have disappeared. Skilled mountaineers can tackle Triglav (2864m), which looms above the Bohinj valley. The highest peak in both Slovenia and the Julian Alps, which stretch into northeast Italy, it features on the country’s flag and 50c euro coin.

More info: www.bohinj.com

See other top festivals in September here.