This weekend was the 2nd annual Tarda Festival held just 5-minute drive outside of Osijek. In a town called Darda was the place to be at the Esterhazy castle. It was full of excitement bringing together rich cultural history from the past history of life for the three days. Reconnecting history through cultural activities, fine clothing of the era, food, and music and dancing. The theme draws upon the early 16th century and at the dawn of the 18th century. With special concert performance from the hit group Frajle.
In the Evening around 6 pm
Upon arrival, it felt like a royal welcome with the Esterhazy Castle in Darda being decorated in festival fashion. At the gate of the castle around 6 pm visitors were greeted with a royal welcome with a young drummer rallying the crowds’ attention. With the audience attention, the comedic performance began with a man dressed in green clothes dated to the period carrying a Turkish Nargila. To add contrast to this character was the arrival of the tall royally dressed Sulejaman. The crowd was then invited to a royal tour of the grounds with each vendor asked a series of questions. It was an incredibly well performed with a jab of slap stick comedy.
Imagine how life was as the sunset.
The atmosphere brought the charm of the community together as Lanterns gleamed with the sun setting. The children played without cell phones, instead were found laughing and racing around the bails of straw and hanging white linen sheets with plenty of fun. In the distance, guest were treated to an old fashioned buggy ride around the grounds. For many Adults, it was a time to socialize and catch up with friends and neighbours under the lanterns. The left side Esterhazy Castle windows it was fun to watch the Konobars (waiters and waitresses) racing for customers drinks. The food in the night air brought together the festival feeling as people waited for the Frajle concert to start.
Catching up with one of the Organizers
In a rare moment at the Tarda festival, I was introduced to the one of the many who help put together and organize the event. I spoke to Organizers Bogdanka from Lag- Baranja with special thanks to Damir Katusic for the introduction. She was able to take some time for a one on one conversation and much was discussed as this was the second year for this event. The event has taken months of preparation and planning that has not been an easy task. She said that it would be great if it caught on in media attracting a bigger crowd an audience for next time. The event encircles two story lines and two different time periods which was quite the challenge. There was a lot of effort put into the re-creating garments that resemble what they would have worn in that era. The highlights of the event is the gala performance in the square and the cultural dancing. The organizers turned things around to be interactive engaging the audience into the story. Bringing much deserved attention from the media as this was done in a fun creative way.
The Challenge of bringing two themes at the same time.
The challenge was to make it interesting and not just a lecture on history. Taking the famous story about the rule of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire- The Sulejaman Magnificent (Sulejmana Veličanstvenog). The other story was the history of Esterhazy family with the relationship to the surrounding land of Osijek and Baranja with Esterhazy Castle in Darda. This weekend was not filled with a classroom history lesson of lectures and slideshows.
Cultural and Tourism agencies help play an importance of the event is not only to bring history to life but also the wonderful scenery and beauty of Baranja. Organized by the Association of Rural Tourism in Đola and the joint organization of the Darda Municipality, Turkey's Development Agency TIKA, Turkish Cultural Center Yunus Emre, and TZ Baranja
The most important part is that there are more plans for future Tarda festival with some exciting stuff happing. (Who knows there maybe even be a fall autumn theme or possible Advent theme here in Esterhazy Castle?)