Croatian Tourism: Vrboska Cultural Summer Bonfires but No Pirates
The Cultural Summer programme in Vrboska on Hvar opened with the traditional St. Ivan Bonfire Night, but the Pirates of Omis were defeated by the bura wind.
The Vrboska Cultural Summer programme opened on June 24, 2011 with the traditional St. Ivan Bonfire Night, a celebration of local customs and music, while the much anticipated arrival of the Pirates of Omis was cancelled due to adverse sailing conditions.
Celebrating Three Public Holidays in One Week
With the season now in full swing, the island of Hvar has an impressive cultural programme for tourists in its various towns. Croatians are also in party mood this week, celebrating no less than three public holidays in one week: Anti-Fascist Resistance Day (June 22), Corpus Christi (June 23) and Croatian National Day (June 25).
Vrboska Cultural Summer
The Vrboska Tourist Board has a series of events for tourists from June 24 to August 21, which began with a folklore and Dalmatian music evening in front of the impressive church fortress of St Mary in the middle of the town, followed by a large bonfire.
Local children dressed in traditional Dalmatian attire opened the proceedings with dancing before Klapa Kastilac from the neighbouring village of Svirce gave an impressive a capella performance, followed by another Klapa group, Veli Kamik. A large bonfire was then set alight in the neighbouring square, despite the late June heat.
The Pirates of Omis
The eagerly awaited arrival of the Pirates of Omis the following evening brought numerous tourists to the town, after the tourist board had arranged for the pirates to invade the town, engage local teams in a tug of war and put on a concert.
The pirates left the town of Omis, just south of Split, on schedule at 1600, but were forced to turn back due to strong winds from the region's most infamous wind, the bura. They finally returned home about 2100, determined to conquer Vrboska another day.
While there was obvious disappointment at the lack of pirates, there was enough entertainment elsewhere in the town, from live music to the full bars and restaurants, to make the evening a success.
Late June is a busy time on Hvar, and there are numerous festivals and concerts for visitors to choose from. The third lavender festival on Hvar also took place on June 25, celebrating this important crop in the almost deserted village of Velo Grablje, once the main centre of lavender production in Dalmatia.
The Attractions of Vrboska
Cultural Summers apart, there is much to attract tourists to Vrboska, the fourth largest town on Hvar. It is home to the main marina on the island and is therefore an important sailing centre, but it is best known for its pretty stone bridges and small canal (which is why it is known also as Little Venice) and its fortress church, an impressive and unique stone building with triangular fortification jutting out from one corner. An impressive fortress indeed, and one which pirates might struggle to overcome, if only they could master the seas before them.