Rynek Glowny goes folk

The fair has come to Rynek Glowny. From August 17-26, Rynek Glowny has been hosting the 31st Fair of Folk Art, accompanied by these smaller folklore events: the third European Fair of Art and Artistic Handicraft, the third Malopolska Folk Culture Days and the second Festival of City Folklore. The aim of the fair, organizers say, is “to present everything that is the best testimony of Poland’s rich traditional folk art that emphasizes and reminds us of our national and cultural identity.” The fair’s appeal goes beyond the national level, with guests from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine. Each of the 10 days of the fair has its own theme, usually concerning a specific region of Poland or one of the guest countries, and celebrations are linked to the themes. For example, “Pincz-ow and Kopernia Day” celebrated the 750th anniversary of the signing of the location act of Krakow in Kopernia. The ceremony featured Prince of Krakow Boleslaw Wstydliwy and his attendants making a grand entry to Rynek Glowny. Other festival events have included more than 50 performances by folk bands and song-and-dance groups. as well as competitions, games and shows. The most important part of the fair is, of course, a great market on Rynek Glowny. There, more than 300 exhibitors from virtually every part of Poland present their regional art. Apart from purchasing wicker baskets, lace tablecloths or clay dishes, one can also watch the products being made. Alas, apart from real masterpieces of regional handicraft, some stands sell cheap, unattractive “souvenirs,” perhaps hoping, that the splendor of the fair will make their junk more interesting. But luckily it does not take an expert to sort the wheat from the chaff. The last four days of the fair will be devoted to the town and land of Limanowa (Thursday), Dobczyce and the Wieliczka Salt Mine (Friday), the Republic of Slovakia (Saturday) and Nowy Targ and Podhale (Sunday). Among the highlights will be knight fights by the John the Baptist Congregation at 13:35 on Friday and performances by highland ensembles through Sunday.

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