In Ogulin this year, as an exceptional year celebrating the town’s 520th anniversary of its founding, the Ogulin Fairy Tale Festival and the Igra Kolo review of original folklore of Karlovac County were both held on the same weekend.

The festival that has been held for 15 years in a row on the second weekend in June was this year held in September.

Artists from all over Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were guests at the famous festival open-air locations arranged in the town and its surroundings that are named after the characters from Croatian Tales of Long Ago by the writer Ivana Brlić Mažuranić.

On the first day of the festival, as usual, in the beginning – we woke up the fairy tale. In the awakening of the fairy tale, on the main Regoč stage, within the castle’s walls, we were helped by the always-attractive Magic Rico, Martiniuss Cirkus and the magician Luka Vidović. The circus performers helped us to wake up the fairy tale with the use of their circus techniques and skills such as acrobatics, juggling and clowns.

The full programme in which there was something for everyone continued. From theatrical shows by professional theatre groups, to storytelling, workshops in kite making and flying, rope balancing and zip line rides for the adrenaline youngsters, the reading of fairy tales from other countries along with projections and a concert by the Poco Loco theatre group, a show of Kamishibai by the Kozlići society, a clown show by the Osmijeh Society of Ogulin, a pub quiz by Silvije Pleština, a workshop of original fairy tales, a wool workshop by Željka Lemez – from the Association for the support of education, upbringing, culture and tradition from Sarajevo, a competition in the cooking of Ogulin’s famous masnica by the Women’s Society of Ogulin, a review of folk costumes, the promotion of diving by the Pogled u Plavo company from Rakov Potok, Days of Honey by the Ogulin’s Beekeeping Society, an art workshop of ethno motifs by Andreja Radojčić and the Ogulin Heritage Museum, a show about how to write songs by Novi Život of Zagreb, a bird exhibition, reading and drawing in Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales and much more…

The Darko Misirača Quartet, performed in the early evening of the first day of the festival their piece Svarog’s Garden:

photo: Pučko otvoreno učilište

“The Darko Misirača Quartet played an excellent concert. In Slavic mythology, Svarog is the god of fire and the sky, the creator of everything in the sky and on the Earth, the first deity of the Sun amongst the Slavs. Svarog’s Garden (Svarogov vrt) by the Darko Misirača Quartet is an album, in the writer’s words “… dedicated to lost love. The compositions describe moments, emotional phases, life events… before and after two people go to different sides of life.” – Ogulin Open University.

In the Igra Kolo programme, the traditional folk customs of the Ogulin region were on show presented by the Sveti Juraj Culture and Arts Society of Zagorje Ogulinsko.

And along with all of this, Ogulin’s famous masnica and sarma were enjoyed by many. The masnica were cooked by the women of Ogulin, and the sarma were prepared by LAG Frankopan (local action group). The storytelling stage in Đula’s Garden shone with a special shine this year, and performing were Jasna Held from Dubrovnik who performed folk tales, Tatjana Šojić, the actress and narrator from Sarajevo who narrated Bosnian fairy tales, and myself who narrated Regoč by Ivana Brlić Mažuranić.

Tatjana Šojić
Đula’s Garden (photo: Zdravko Špehar)

The Natura Viva public institution held a lecture about NATURA 2000 protected areas as part of the Susret s rijekom (Encounter with the River) project and with the motto “Nature is a trend in Ogulin”, with a zip line and a workshop in the skill of mountaineering knot tying. In collaboration with the HGSS Ogulin Station and the Ogulin Sports Climbing Club, Croatia Open Land Tours DMC conducted a training programme.

The unmissable broom flying for a witch’s driver’s license was carried out by our own Miroslav Turković, with a lot of experience and hours of broomstick flight, he easily displayed to visitors the secret of flying, and as a reward, each visitor (if they tried properly, of course) received a license for flying a broom.

Many family-run farms (OPG) from Ogulin took part in the festival with their produce such as Ogulin cabbage, honey, honey products, aronia and so on.

To the delight of many children, the Society of Teachers of Technical Culture from Ogulin held workshops in robotics, pyrography and the making of Polaroid photography.

Sports societies and NGOs celebrated with tennis and bowling tournaments.

On the festival’s third day, Jasna Held put the fairy tale to bed with the storytelling of folk tales.

It was not possible to list or visit all the shows and events during these three days in Ogulin, so it is important to prepare and make a plan before the start of the festival. Before each festival, the programme of events is published, and our regular visitors and followers already know this. The locations are excellently marked, and it is just up to you what you want to watch, listen to and take part in.

As a performer and resident of Ogulin, I am again very proud of my town, the organisers and fellow citizens, who in large numbers and under the slogan of the “new normal” supported each other and gave all the visitors and themselves three days of creativity, colour, fun, joy, harmony and diversity. Thank you to the town council and the enthusiastic individuals who did everything in the best possible way in the given circumstances.

And so Ogulin celebrated its 520th birthday as a real, colourful, cheerful, old and wise, small yet full of great joy – town. Whoever remembers the tale, happiness will surely follow, so see you next year – stay safe and well!

You can find many more photographs and videos at the following links:

Ogulin Fairy Tale Festival – Facebook

Tourist Board of the Town of Ogulin – Facebook

Ivana’s House of Fairy Tales – Facebook

Visit Ogulin – Instagram

Ogulin Open University – Instagram

Translation by Martin Mayhew