Poklon, 7.9.2008




Stands - Products of Učka

Boškarin, Goat, Donkey

Klape & Folklore








The 2nd Učka Fair, at Poklon, near the summit of this beautiful mountain,  showed the what one cannot see when watching it from the surrounding rural and littoral areas, or even during the short visits to the top by car - the life. At vending stands there were exclusively local products: cheese, honey, wine, brandy (biska, medenica), mushrooms, teas from Učka plants, local souvenirs, musical instruments, food "the way our nonas used to make it", etc. Performers came from Veprinac, Lanišće, Opatija, Lovran, Roč, and Raša. Last, but in no way, the least, were a few 4-legged guests from farther away in Istria: Istrian sheep, goat, donkey, and the 1,200kg heavy Boškarin.

Women from Lanišće, organized in the "Club of Ćićarija Women", performed a daylong demonstration of the wool sock production, from washing and combing the wool, through making threads, to knitting, while the younger members of the same club performed the rarely heard, ancient Istrian singing - which, as we learnt from one of the members, others named "bugarenje", but in Lanišće it is simply called - pjevanje (singing). Mario Gašparini showed the visitors the  friendliness of his Bakin & Boškarin, and their understanding of the signals to turn and stop, as they were used back when oxen were used to pull carts and plows.KUD Rudar, the only performers from outside the Učka area, performed the Istrian folk dance Balun (In their Labinjonski, Balon), while chorus and klapa from Veprinac sang more contemporary local songs in now popular klapa version. And, how can one forget the exciting instrumental group from Roč, performing first on the "normal" or traditional musical instruments, and then on saws, scythes,  graters, combs...

Liburnia's most popular singers and music writers, Mario Battifiaca and Duško Jeličić, with his group Bonaca - which also includes Mrs. Silvana Jeličić, entertained the guests for the rest of the evening. There weren't many dancers in the parking lot turned dance podium, but the few that did dance were very nice to watch. Actually, the first dancers were from a group of Polish tourists, who responded to the tune of "Tancajmo" and "Malica za pet" from the CD early in the afternoon. The Polish group could not wait on the live music because they were in a hurry to take part in an accordion festival in Kastav. Even though the program was cut short because of the rain, Mario & Dule managed to sing their greatest and dearest hits, squeeze in a few comedy acts and get people to the dance podium with traditional Istrian-Italian waltzes.

The fair was a great example of learning from experience. While reports after last year's fair talked mostly about traffic collaps and chaos created by unespectedly large number of visitors, this year the organization of the event worked superbly. There was a couple of policemen on hand, but most work regulating traffic (including Boškarin's parade through the crowd) was donw by area volunteer firemen and personel of Nature Park Učka. The organizers, in cooperation with police departments and Bina Istra, decided on a one way traffic flow: Tunel Učka - Veprinac - Poklon, where the fair was, - Vela Učka and back down toward the Tunnel. Eveyone was a winner: Bina Istra got tunnel traffic that otherwise wouldn't and the visitors got 60% toll discount and no delay driving to and from the fair (not to mention some spectacular view on Istria and Kvarner). While last year's traffic mess and unprepared restaurants left many visitors virtually stranded and hungry, this year there were outdoor tables and chairs, food, brandy, coffee and beer stands, and two great restaurants in the fair area, all with some delicious stuff to eat and great service.