This month it was time for the second big annual celebration of the village: Shipka Fest! A delay of four months due to the worldwide pandemic did not spoil the fun. The fest took place from Friday the 4th of September until Monday the 7th of September and was a great success.
The main task in the beginning of September was to prepare for this big event. Preparation included cutting grass and weeds to make space for the stage, building the blacksmith’s workplace in the museum garden and preparing the cafe for a great number of visitors.
In the week coming up to the fest, three more people arrived in Shipka to help with the fest: new volunteers Marie and Pietro from the Czech Republic and ex-volunteer Ophélie from France.
The program started on Friday evening with an introduction followed by a performance by the Small Theatre Company of Gabrovo. The kids were very excited to see the puppets arguing and having fun, but adults, too, enjoyed the show. The evening ended with a concert of Surbahar Live Band with guest musician Konstantin Kuchev.
Early Saturday morning all craftsmen arrived at the museum to set up their stands. Blacksmith Stefan Chakov, pottery master Desi Vladovska, weaver Sofka Dimitrova and others stayed there for the rest of the day, selling crafts and demonstrating their skills to visitors of the fest. Furthermore, an amazing culinary exhibition made up of Shipka’s traditional dishes took place at lunchtime. In the evening there were two guided tours, one of the art gallery “Hristo Pesev” and the Museum of Afforestation and one of the ethnographic museum “Chirpanlieva House”. Again, the evening ended with great alternative music, this time performed by Trio Kalina, Anton Gudov, Bass and Soulfia.
Like the day before, the third day of Shipka Fest consisted of many craftsmen displaying and selling their work. There were also many workshops on this day, including a basketball demonstration by master Stanko Kirov, a bracelet-making workshop with Nefize Kuyumdzhieva and a stained-glass workshop with Albena Venkova. Like the two previous days, it was a sunny and cheerful day in the centre of Shipka.
Monday was the last day of the fest. In the morning Rada Stoynova gave a soap workshop, and later that day there were two other workshops: herbal ointments by Nadezhda Maximova and Lace Quesnay by Ivanka Genova. Finally, at five o’clock in the afternoon, the soap was cut and the fest was closed. We spent the rest of the day cleaning up in and around the museum.
All in all, it was a very successful Shipka Fest, with great crafts, music, food and people! We’re already looking forward to the next fest, which will be in May 2021.