Korça Beerfest, Albania’s largest summer event

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 10, 2017 11:44

Korça Beerfest, Albania’s largest summer event

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  • "The beer fest is a really special event where people have the opportunity to consume quality beer and mix that with music and entertainment for five consecutive nights," says an Italian tourist

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TIRANA, Aug. 10 – Thousands of Albanian and foreign tourists packed the streets of Korça, Albania’s biggest southeastern city, known for its serenades and nicknamed the “Little Paris of Albania” as its traditional beer festival kicked off on Wednesday night.

The city’s main streets have been specially decorated and street signs placed in Albanian and English to orient visitors about the festival sites.

Beer, traditional dishes such as the Kernacka meatballs and the Lakror pie, serenades and music performances will accompany Albanian and foreign visitors holidaying in the country for five nights until Sunday, August 13.

The festival is also an opportunity for holidaymakers in the neighbouring lake town of Pogradec and other Albanian coastal destinations to temporarily escape the heatwave and visit Korça, a city where temperatures are about 5 degrees Celsius lower, boasting one of the country’s richest cultural heritage.

Korça Mayor Sotiraq Filo says this festal will bring thousands of local visitors and foreign tourists to the city.

“It’s the 11 edition of this festival which is organized by the Korça municipality. It is undoubtedly the biggest summer festival not only in the city of Korça, but the whole of Albania, a festival which lasts for five nights, culminating at weekend,” Filo has told reporters.

“The novelty in this year’s festival is that the festival will take place in two sites, at the Korça old bazaar where there will be young singers and rock bands performing while the local Skenderbeu stadium will be the site of massive celebration,” added Filo.

An Israeli DJ will also be performing in the festival as a special guest.

“The beer fest is a really special event where people have the opportunity to consume quality beer and mix that with music and entertainment for five consecutive nights,” an Italian tourist of Albanian origin was quoted as saying by local media.

Within 5 days, over 100,000 people are expected to visit the festival. Organizers say the large number of visitors is mostly due to basic festival principles: free entrance, an exceptional music program, and a wide range of foreign and domestic beer brands.

In the 2013 edition, Guns N’ Roses’ lead guitarist Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal performed in Korça as part of the festival.

Korça is also home to the first beer brewed in Albania, the Birra Korça. The local brewery produces a Blonde Ale Pilsner and a Dark Pilsner.

Beer Fest, which marks the climax of the tourist season in Korça, brings together Albanian and foreign breweries.

Back in 2010, the Albanian Tourism Association handed the Korça beer fest the Albanian Tourism Award for promoting tourism in one of the country’s largest cities.

Korça has recently had its medieval art museum and 19th century bazaar revitalized.

Nicknamed “The small Paris of Albania” and the “City of serenades,” the southeastern Albania city of Korça, also features a prehistoric museum, a national education museum where the first Albanian language school opened in 1878 and the Vangjush Mio house museum.

The historical town of Korça has a well-preserved historical center with cobblestone streets and many surviving villas that were built in the early 20th century, says the Western Balkans Geotourism Mapguide portal about Korça. From 1916 – 1920, the town was under French control and eventually it was declared an autonomous region with French support. The continental influence resulted in the construction of neoclassical villas, two famous cinemas and a tradition of photography and art appreciation. Korça was known at one point as the “Paris of Albania.” The town is also famous for its Orthodox churches, including the oldest surviving Orthodox church in Albania, the Church of St. Mary in the village of Mborja, just outside the city.

In addition to the Beer Festival, Korça is also known for its popular Carnival and Lakror pie festivals. Famous for its massive apple production, the city hall is also planning to organize the second Apple Festival next October, promoting local apple, juice and jam.

Each year international artists come together in Korça to create sculptures for local parks and paint.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 10, 2017 11:44