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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Agricultural August (ΑΓΡΟΤΙΚΟΣ ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΣ)

Agricultural August is a well-organised annual event taking place for the last 11 years in Hania. It is organised to promote and support the agricultural activities and lifestyle of the region.

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The stalls were set up alongside the marina area of the Venetian port, below the old Venetian shipyards, locally known as the 'Neoria'.

Agricultural August is staged by the beautiful old Venetian harbour which attracts many visitors at this time of year, enabling both locals and tourists alike to partake in the activities presented through the event, mainly in the form of food stalls, along with a few samples of local art such as woodwork and weaving and some commercial businesses like bookshops and natural products suppliers.

agricultural august hania 2009
Cretan cookbooks, ovens and clay pots, and dolls in traditional costumes
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The face of a traditional Cretan male carved in a watermelon.
face of traditional cretan man carved in a watermelon

Cretan music is heard throughout the night via a central sound system, and there are also dancing displays on most nights while the event is running.

agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009
Traditional Cretan produce comprises home-made food made from the natural resources available on the island.
agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009

Its earthy atmosphere and ambient environment gives everyone, especially foreigners, an opportunity to experience genuine Cretan hospitality, which in any case, is never hard to find in Crete: people are down-to-earth and like to make foreigners feel at home, by providing them with food and a friendly smile.

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Traditional Cretan pies and pasties - kalitsounia - containing locally made cheese are also a popular snack food. These ones have been made by local women's cooperatives.
agricultural august hania 2009
Equipment used in the art of local cheesemaking.
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We attended the event on its second night (it ran from 31 July to 9 August), and found it very impressive. The harbour was packed with people (being a Saturday night), and there was plenty of eating and drinking going on.

agricultural august hania 2009
A traditional village kafeneion was running in one of the old Venetian buildings, often used as an exhibition centre.
agricultural august hania 2009 agricultural august hania 2009
Local faces - the men seem to fit into the 'una fatsa, una ratsa' group.
agricultural august hania 2009

People came as family groups, instilling the custom of eating and drinking in company. A lot of promotional material was also given away on that night, most of it having to do with food. My only complaint about the event was that the authorities responsible did not promote this year's event through the official website (leaving last year's material on it), which shows a certain level of undesirable apathy in a high-profile event of cultural and political significance.

earino taverna cafe bar koum kapi hania poikilia - mixed meat grill
Sometimes, the setting, the environment and view are worth so much more than the food.
koum kapi

After having our fill of kalitsounia, honey, wine and tsikoudia samples, we made our way to Koum Kapi where we enjoyed a bit of junk food al fresco on a warm summer's evening. A pleasant time was guaranteed for all.

Cost of 3 souvlakia (skewered meat), a small mixed grill, 2 tap beers and 2 lemonades: 29 euro.

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