Let's Go to the Craft Fair!
As I said in my last post, this is probably my favorite event of the year in Krakow. Every summer, across the last two weekends of August, the organization Cepelia hosts a Festival of Folk Arts. Artisans from all over Poland come to Krakow to display and sell their wares, and demonstrate their crafts.
Folk dancers and musicians (both young and old) perform in national costumes.
The main square in the center of Krakow, called the Rynek, is filled with small vendors' booths, and festooned with decorations representing various crafts.
In the second photo below, there is a huge welcome sign proclaiming that this is the 30th such festival to be held in Krakow. It's grown over the years, from a mere weekend affair to a grand ten-day event. Beyond the fair booths, you can see the main building on Krakow's square, the Sukiennice or Cloth Hall, and beyond that (on the left), you can see the higher tower of St. Mary's Basilica. Every hour, the trumpeter of Krakow sounds the plaintive hejnał with its broken final note from the windows of that tower.
There is so much to see and enjoy here that I make a point of visiting several times during the event. I always use my end-of-August birthday as an excuse for indulging in things that I like. After nine years, I have a few favorite vendors that I look forward to seeing year after year. (Oh yes, it's also a perfect chance to do a little advance Christmas shopping, and not just for me!)
I missed this event last year while I was in the states! As much as I hate to see summer come to an end, the craft fair helps to make up for it, giving me something to anticipate each August. There are a number of different crafts that I find particularly attractive, and one or two artisans whose work is so interesting and unique that I wish they had a wider audience than just Poland. (My very favorite one doesn't have a web site!)
Join the crowds and browse with me. The sun is shining, a light breeze is blowing (okay, sometimes it's more than "light"), and the folk music filters through the hum of the crowd as you meander from booth to booth. We'll enjoy the demonstrators and the fruits of their efforts. Without a doubt, we'll find something so irresistible it will have to come home with us. Some fine crafts are very expensive, but there are plenty of reasonably-priced bargains to tempt us. I'll share some different crafts and give you a peep at my purchases over the next few days.