Riga’s celebrations get under way

  • 2011-08-10
  • By Sam Logger

TIME TO PARTY: The three day celebrations will include exciting and interactive events in honor of the capital city.

RIGA - At the end of the summer, when many thoughts are already on the rush of autumn, Riga welcomes its party of the year. For three days, from Aug. 19 – 21, the capital of Latvia becomes the capital of energy, heart and enjoyment, celebrating its massive 810th anniversary.

Riga, established in 1201 by Bishop Albert, has historically been a significant trading point in the Baltic Sea region, concentrating a multicultural environment and career opportunities for those who could afford to be a part of Riga landlords’ list. Today, when the city tries to develop new trading routes and strengthen old ones, it is still just as diverse in mentality as it was before. As a transit location, Riga is called the corridor between the East and West, yet the most precious value of the city is its people – a more than 700,000 people makes Riga the biggest city of the country and the region.

Seemingly, the ambitions of the grand celebration have grown in power along with the size of the city, and 2011 is here to prove the magnificence of both of them. And, possibly, it has nothing to do with the writing similarities of the years 2011 and 1201. Cultural programs offer various activities for those who admire speed and accuracy, and for those who fancy the moments made for the heart and soul too. Many events provide active participation of visitors, like the workshop “Masters and Tricks,” where everyone is invited to build a sand sculpture on the river, and OKarte Night Run on Aug. 19, when all who support an active and creative lifestyle are going to have a good time, as this rule is more important than the results at the finish line.

The festival program is full of interesting surprises, and one of them is the Elite Aerobatic Formula (EAF) competition where air acrobatic or aerobatic tricks take place in the sky above the Daugava river, between Salu and Dienvidu bridges. On Aug. 19 and 20, the best professional pilots will demonstrate their proficiency to the public, also exhibiting the progress in airplane manufacturing. The EAF program includes two disciplines – Aerobatics Against Time and Aerobatics Freestyle – and both are praised to be exciting for spectators. Qualification events are seen on Aug. 19, but the competition itself, where the pilots of the highest class are going to cross the sky above Riga, kicks off on Aug. 20.

However, the grand event of the Riga party is placed at the open-air stage of Mezaparks, and is the concert “Master. Song. Legend,” which unifies folk and popular culture traditions. There is probably no better view on cultural heritage than the possibility to attend this Song and Dance festival counterpart, which gathers more than 7,000 singers, 400 dancers and brass band members from all corners of Latvia to pay a tribute to the metropolis of the country. Conductors face an exciting task to merge the classical repertoire of the Song and Dance festival and popular music arrangements. Thus, visitors reserve the right to feel the completeness of Latvia’s mentality (not just Riga’s) by listening to the masterpieces of Janis Lusens, Zigmars Liepins, Martins Brauns, Imants Kalnins, Raimonds Pauls, Emils Darzins, and Jazeps Vitols, which are put in the hands of Latvia’s talented conductors.

Moreover, alongside the city’s anniversary, the grand concert also congratulates the old masters, Gido and Imants Kokars. That is not all. The concert awaits its special guests – Latvian musical band “Cikagas piecisi” from USA. The band, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011, has already started a tour in Latvia, and the tour finale is expected to be in Mezaparks.
While there are on offer many entertainment activities, the specific characteristics which demonstrate the national traditions of the country remain. Obviously, it is a feature of what must be taken into consideration visiting Riga’s 810th celebration. This is a great chance to really sense the personality of a Latvian, rather than be preoccupied with stereotypes. As said before – the most valuable thing is people, and this celebration shows it will never change.

For full Riga 810 program visit: www.rigassvetki.lv