Friday, August 28, 2015

Festival in Jelsa

We said goodbye to the last of our friends today, after marvelous vacation time with both family and friends here on Hvar.

Now Dave hunkers down to work hard on long-range planning, writing projects, and preparations for his teaching in the coming weeks and months.

But, when I heard about an annual festival happening across the mountain in Jelsa this evening, I asked if we could check it out before he gets to work on those things. I'm so glad he said yes!

Growing up in Oregon, my little hometown of Coburg hosted an annual festival called "Coburg Golden Years". It was a highlight of the summer, at least for the kids in town! We looked forward to it all year long: the parade, food, game booths and gathering of friends were all such a fun way to end the summer. While I haven't been to it in years (they still have it!), I often think about it when summer rolls around.

Transport that small town atmosphere to the town of Jelsa on the island of Hvar, and you've got the same type of delightful event!

If I hadn't read about it on Total Hvar, a wonderful blog with all sorts of news and interesting items about the island, I wouldn't have known about the festival. But reading about it this afternoon made me think of my childhood and how special those kinds of events are. So off we went!

I don't know how long this event has been going, but "Festa Vina" was quite the event going on over in Jelsa. Booths lined the harbor, with everything from wine and food, to handcrafts and local items like honey and lavender oil for sale.

We wandered from booth to booth, enjoying every bit of the aromas filling the air, as well as the of the artistry and craftsmanship of people sharing their wares.

As the sun set, we heard beautiful music across the harbor.

And soon dancers, singers and musicians made their way over to where we stood, a parade of sorts.

For the next twenty minutes these talented musicians gave an incredibly beautiful concert of Croatian folk music, complete with gorgeous costumes. Truly it was one of those magical moments where all of time stops and you're transported to a time long ago when this was the norm of life. I loved every minute of it.

Afterward we wandered down the riva, along the harbor's edge, just taking in all the sights and sounds, including the new piece of artwork recently unveiled. The donkey is an important part of island life, walking to and from the fields, helping their owners to collect various things like lavender and such. It's fitting that a life size version is now at the harbor for all to enjoy!

The harbor sparkled in the warm evening air while hundreds of people enjoyed the festival as we made our way back towards our car.

Just as we were headed out of the square, we witnessed one last event of our "Festa Vina" experience: bonfire in the harbor! In a parade of boats, each carried torches and zoomed around the water, creating a bonfire effect. Though I wished I'd been closer to the water at the time, at least I got one photo to remember it by!

Small town festivals bring people together in a way that is hard to replicate anywhere. I'm glad we were here to enjoy Jelsa's "Festa Vina" this year!

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