All over the island local municipalities have organised their own festivals, some for many years in a row, with parades, concerts, dance, show of local traditions and for the youth sports competitions and other activities.
Dance in all variations is favourite No. 1. Our young people like to dance, they have joined one of the many clubs in North Cyprus to learn latin dance, especially tango and salsa, modern jazz dance, ballet and the traditional folk dance. In some festivals the modern dance shows have been included in the festival programmes. Once a year international folk dance groups are invited for the local festivals. I have written down all the countries from where dance groups have come to the TRNC: In Gönyeli: from Switzerland, Israel, Nigeria, Turkey and Puerto Rico; in Mehmetcik from Italy, Russia, Bulgaria, Moldovia, Turkey and Spain, in Iskele from Turkey, Portugal, Georgia and Montenegro.
But also our own folk dance groups are not staying behind, some of the many groups we have here of all ages visit international festivals abroad, so they get to know each other and sometimes over the years meet again at another such festival.
The municipalities are very active in creative education of our youth: theatre groups, choirs, dance and art groups, to learn a kind of solidarity by doing things together. Once a year, during their village festivals, they may all show what they have learnt. A whole village works together to get the festival going, to celebrate and show off, entertain locals and tourists alike with all kinds of activities.
With the festival in Iskele just over, sadly with a tragic car accident of young local boys involved, one of the last festivals to come is the 49th Grape Festival in Mehmetcik to start on July 25 with a parade at 8 pm. On the programme are an exhibition by the Cartoonists Association and a Photographic exhibition with the title Innocent Faces; art films will be shown, among which a film on the locally famous Mehmet Ertug with his shadow theater Karagöz. Theatre plays, folkdance and sports activities on the beach, traditional cooking courses and at the end of the festival the long expected wine tasting. I have often been to Mehmetcik, it is a village up on a cliff at the end of the Kyrenia mountain range overlooking the Mesaoria and the sea in the distance. They grow vine there and produce wine in local factories. It is a nice day trip along the northern highway, then over the mountains direction Büyük Konuk.
There will be the theatre festival in August again. I spoke to Aliye Ummanel, dramaturge at the Lefkosa Municipality Theatre, who said that they are in the middle of getting the programme finalized. The theatre is the organiser of the festival which will go on stage in August in Girne, Nicosia, Famagusta with international theatre groups and plays. We are looking forward to see the excellent actors on stage again. As soon as the programme is printed, I will announce it in my website.
In October as usual we will have the Olive Festival, the time to start picking the olives. There are many activities, art exhibitions and art street events planned besides tasting local food, dancing, poetry events and long speeches by the officials. Also, the results of the 2nd International Olive Cartoon Contest will be exhibited. Last year we had the local Line Dancers dance on stage, I wonder if they will come again.
You see, you can actually get around the island, endlessly celebrating with the locals. Our president Mr Ali Mehmet Talat has a hard time at the moment, his presence being wanted at all the festival openings, so his wife Oya has sometimes to take over the duties which she does with great charme.
For further festivals please look them up under my All Year Round Festival List.