The annual Kyustendil spring festival is always held on the first day of spring, March 21st. The festivities include a beauty pagent, where local teenagers compete for the coveted title of Девойка Кюстендилска пролет 2013 or “Miss Spring”. This years winner was Beatrice Katzarova, who reminded me of the Bulgarian/Canadian actress Nina Dobrev, but I don’t really concern myself with this element of the program. I focus on hullabaloo that takes place on the square and the pilgrimage up Hisarlaka hill, where you can find the ruins of a Roman fortress.
It is an official holiday in town, no school, no work… just enjoying the day with your family; carnival rides and cotton candy for the kids, balloons and other cheap junk that are overpriced and broken within a week.
While, the kids didn’t have the patience to watch the cultural dance and song show, I was quite interested by the act with the red masks, which reminded me of Mexican wrestlers. If anyone can explain the cultural history of this performance it would be greatly appreciated.
And what I love about the day is the food, while not special or unique. The ally is lined with kebabche and kyufte stands, which are grilled on the spot and enjoyed with a beer. Usually beer is reserved for warmer weather, but spring is the unofficial launch of beer season! Angel and I peruse the alley to find the place we thinks have the best ones and settled on a new pizza place called Naples.
I really love living in Kyustendil, which has four big festivals annually, up next on the 21st and 22nd of June is the infamous Cherry Festival!
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