Saturday, October 3, 2009

Days of Grape Harvest in Vrsac

By Valentina Radulovic

Vrsac, Sept. 16, 2009 (Serbia Today) - Vrsac is a city of grape and wine, and grape is its strategic product. ‘Vrsac Harvest Days’, a cultural, artistic and sporting event, honoring grape and wine, takes place in Vrsac, every year, from 19th to 21st September, during the grape harvest.
Taking into consideration the fact that Vrsac is famous for wine, every year, during the third weekend of September, there is a traditional manifestation, called ‘Grozdjebal’, for all the lovers of grapes and great wine.
During these days tourists can visit a great number of cultural, commercial-sports events, as well as various displays of grapes and wine. They can also come to the famous ‘Road of Wine’.
Accompanied by local tourist guide, ‘The Days of Grape Harvest will be remembered as pleasant and unforgettable moments, rich in tradition, culture and the link between the old and the modern times.
From time immemorial, the vast wine-growing region has been an inspiration to poets, novelists, painters and other artistic souls, but also to ordinary people who upon visiting once, keep returning.
Today, the Vrsac Grape Harvest is the oldest such event in Serbia. It has a very long tradition, because grapevines were grown here from the time of the Romans and Decanis to the present day.
In the meantime, Vrsac grape picking adjusted to the time and new social trends, and many new things have been introduced, such as preserving the noble tradition in many segments of the event’s elaborate program. Thus, the color poster for the event is reprinted each year: It shows the central section of a 100-year-old triptych called ‘The Harvest’ by Serbia’s most famous realist painter Paja Jovanovic.
There is also the event’s mascot: Vinko Lozic (an appropriate wine-inspired word play for name and surname) created by one of Serbia’s great playwrights Jovan Sterija Popovic, who, so they say, is a direct descendant of the God Bacchus. And so, Vinko Lozic is the primary figure and in charge of the three-day parade and festivities because the Mayor hands him over the city keys for the occasion.
The event’s standing program includes a game of chance called Grapes from the Airplane, a wine and fruit exhibition, a cycling caravan called Visiting the Vineyards, a review of fiacre, a masked ball for children and a very diverse cultural, artistic and entertainment program as well as a series of accompanying sports events. For the occasion, street traffic, deliveries and other accompanying activities are fully synchronized with guests’ needs and wishes. Vrsac has long since undergone gasification so that each year large gas-run barbecues are used to grill meat, especially sausages, and on Sunday, an ox on the spit as well.
Invariably, famous entertainers take part in the opening ceremony and a beauty pageant is held on a regular basis. The main attraction includes beautiful girls crushing grapes with their own feet and children with slobbery mouths from eating the sweet fruit. The atmosphere is joyous, relaxed, interesting and entertaining; there is something for everyone.

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