The annual Limassol Wine Festival, a tribute to the Cyprus winemaking tradition, opened at the Municipal Gardens on Thursday with a ten-day programme packed with wine tasting, food, music dance and entertainment that ranges from comedy and magic shows to theatre and even a play in sign language.
For the wise visitors, both Limassol town and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation have organised special bus shuttles from all over the island to cut down on drink and driving and allow the public to enjoy the festivities.
The official part of the event, first held in 1961, started with the Limassol Municipal Brass Band, followed by speeches from the host, Mayor Andreas Christou and Commerce, Industry and Tourism Minister Neoklis Sylikiotis, as well as a special music performance by the “Ariones” choir with new wine songs.
Two features have been planned for every night – a music or theatrical performance on the main stage at 8pm and a more casual traditional wine songs, serenading and celebration in front of the signature Vraka Man at 9pm. Folk songs and dances, as well as traditional song and dance from Greece will be staged at the tennis court at 8pm, while children will also be entertained with shadow theatre and puppeteers at 7.30pm.
Other events to coincide with the festival include a public lecture at 5pm on Wednesday at the Municipal Cultural Centre entitled "Wine nowadays, in Cyprus and abroad" with presentations by Dr. Georgios Soleas, Dr. Akis Zampartas and Iraklis Christoforou.
On Saturday, a parade of antique cars will take place in the city and the tourist area starting from 12 noon at the car park.
Also, the Cyprus Wine Museum in Erimi will be open daily from 9am to 5pm (bus route 16, tel. 25 873808).
Buses* for the wine festival will be available, free of charge, over the next two weekends (Friday 30/08, Saturday 01/09, Sunday 02/09, Friday 07/09, Saturday 08/09, Sunday 09/09).
Nicosia: 6.30 pm, departure from the Handicraft Centre. 11pm, departure from the Wine Festival.
Larnaca: 7pm, departure from Vasileos Pavlou Square (CTO Information Office). 11pm, departure from the Wine Festival.
Ayia Napa: 6.30pm, departure from Ayia Napa Monastery parking place. 11pm, departure from the Wine Festival.
Paphos: 6.30pm, departure from the Municipal parking place (near the mosaics). 11pm, departure from the Wine Festival.
* For further information contact the Cyprus Tourism Organisation offices during working hours: Nicosia: 22674264, Larnaca: 24654322, Paphos: 26930521, Ayia Napa: 23721796.
The Limassol Municipality has made arrangements with the EMEL Public Transportation Company for free transport over the next two weekends (Friday 30/08, Saturday 01/09, Sunday 02/09, Friday 07/09, Saturday 08/09, Sunday 09/09) departing from Zakaki Saint Barbara Church, Ayia Phyla commercial centre, Ayios Athanasios commercial centre, Polemidia Zedros club, Yermasoyia parking place,
Ayios Ioannis neighbourhood coffeeshops leaving at 7.30 pm and returning at 10.45pm.
Tickets are sold at the entrance for adults (€6.00 including free bottle of wine from ETKO, KEO, LOEL, and SODAP), teenagers (13 to 18 years old €5.00), children up to 12 years old (€4.00), plastic bottle: €1.50, wine glass: €1.50, wine glass with stem: €2.50.
The Municipality of Limassol also has an enormous parking space on the eastern side of the Municipal Garden Theatre.
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