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Limassol Wine Festival – Free Wine and the Vraka Man
It is almost that time of the year again, the annual wine festival held in Limassol. Limassol (Lemesos) is known as the party city of Cyprus and when you visit the wine festival you will see why! It is also Cyprus’s wine capital and has hosted the annual event every year since 1961. This popular festival is held at the Municipal Gardens which is right on the promenade.
The Wine Festival initially began as a tribute to Cyprus’s wine making tradition. Every year it has gotten bigger and better with more variety of wines, activities, Cypriot food and events. It was originally inspired by the ancient festivals dedicated to the God of Wine, Dionysos and the Goddess of Beauty and Love, Aphrodite. Some featured events are folkloric dances, songs and theatrical performances from local and international artistic groups. There is wine on offer from large and small wineries that can be sampled for free with the minimal entrance fee of 5 Euros.
Along with the entrance fee you will receive a free bottle of wine from the winery of your choice and for just 1 or 2 Euros you can choose a souvenir plastic wine goblet of your choice that will be refilled all night! Lastly, guests have the opportunity to watch or participate in dancing on grapes to tread them which is a popular event as you don’t often see a traditional wine press. It is fun to watch and depending on how much wine you have had it is also fun to do! Another of the the festival’s trademarks is the towering “Vraka Man” that welcomes visitors at the entrance with the phrase “Drink wine to be healthy”. For those who don’t know the “Vraka” is a traditional Cypriot way of dress specifically referring to the pants. The basic costume has the pleated baggy pants or “vraka” which are seen in one way or another on all the Greek Islands. This is also worn with a waistcoat which is called a “yileko” and a jacket or “zibouni”. The vraka is dyed black for older men and blue for younger boys. The shirt is usually cotton for day to day use and a silk shirt is worn on special days. Depending what region you are in will determine the ornate decorations on it.
Since this is a traditional Cypriot festival and hardly anyone wears a “vraka” anymore the statue is a welcome and friendly site and reminder of some of the older Cypriot traditions. This is an event where I would highly suggest taking a bus or taxi to or the free shuttle bus that runs from all cities. You can find more information about transportation that is offered by the Lemesos Municipality on their website. There is also a free public parking area east of the Municipal Garden Theatre (Pafilia ground) and it is free, compliments of the Limassol Municipality however, I would recommend a designated driver!
The festival will kick off on August 27th, 2010 and commence on September 5th. It opens at 7:00 pm and closes at 11:00pm except on Friday and Saturday when it stays open an extra half hour until 11:30pm.
Adult: €5.00 including a bottle of wine from the winery of your choice: ETKO, KEO, LOEL, SODAP
Teenagers: From 13 – 18 yrs old – €4.00
Children up to 12 yrs old –
€3.00 Wine plastic bottles –
€1.00 each Wine glasses –
€1.00 each Wine glasses with stem – €2.00 each.
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