˝Happy New Year!˝ was heard in Velenje every hour. For anybody who was not there, it might seem strange, but being present in Pika’s festival, it took you back to being a child. The theme of this years Pika’s festival was ‘The upside down world’, since Pika’s life is different than others. She wears two different colour socks, celebrates New Year every day, sleeps with her feet on the pillow… Her world is simply magical and full of joy.
The 33th festival took place from 10th to 14th September in Velenje. There were so many workshops, that I am sure every child found something of his/her interest. Walking past children, you could hear them laughing and see their faces, they were dancing, reading, doing make-up or hairstyles, playing instruments… The main stage was on Tito’s square, where Pika was talking to the kids and offering her famous dish – Čalapinke (pancakes). Other workshops were near the Rdeča dvorana, Park in front of the High School, Velenjska promenada and the city playground.
The magic of Pika’s festival is that it is not just a festival with workshops. It feels like you inhabit a different city. There are colorful socks everywhere, excerpts from the stories, ballons…
While enjoying Čalapinke, we asked the workers what the meaning of the festival is and how does it feel to work in such a good environment.
˝What is better than seeing smiling children with their parents, and selling them Čalapinkas. And also, the smelling and eating Čalapinkas myself the whole day really helpes.˝ one said while smiling. The other said ˝ It is a very happy job. No stress, just laughter. Anyway, that is the point of this festival, is it not?˝
We could not agree with her more. The whole idea of the festival is for children to be themselves. Having a good time, without their parents worrying.
Pika is a Slovene name for the famous character from Astrid Lindgren’s story Pippi Longstocking. Pippi is red-haired, freckled and superstrong little girl, who doesn’t want to grow up. She lives on her own in a house called Villa Villekulla, with her horse and monkey named Mr. Nilsson. She never listens to adults and she makes fun of them, she doesn’t go to school and wears two different color socks in boots that are way too big for her. No wonder she instantly made friends with her neighbours Tommy and Annika. She won them and she won children and adult hearts all over the world.
Since Pippi taught us to look differently on the world – sleeping with your shoes on the pillow, cutting spaghettis with scissors, – the theme of this year festival is ‘The upside down world’.
Once again, there were more than 80 events during the whole festival. Our team went to see the festival on a sunny day, where there was lots of children running around and having fun. There was also a climbing wall, for boys and girls to see, if they’re as strong as Pika/Pippi.
At the High school park, there was Mr. Nilsson’s stage, with a puppet show, while all of it was focusing more on art. If you waled down the quarter, you could find The museum quarter, the Library quarter… There were also a few surprises, like horse riding and socks hanging down the fence. For the ones with the most ideas, there was a garden of good wishes, where children wrote their wishes on a piece of paper and then planted them in the garden. At a first glance most wishes were about eating eat a lot of Čalapinkas.
Journalist: Tjaša Verhnjak
Photographer: Julija Belovič
interwiever: Ana Filip Plazl