St. Dominic’s Fair is more modest this year

Justyna Michalkiewicz - Waloszek
31.07.2020

St. Dominic’s Fair is an event that attracts millions of tourists to Gdańsk every year. This year, due to the pandemic, its organization was jeopardized. And yet it worked! With the necessary precautions and in a slightly modified form, the Fair opened to Polish and foreign visitors. It ends on August 16th.

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St. Dominic’s Fair in Gdańsk is an event with cult following. For centuries, it has mainly concentrated on trade. The city feast has been organized since 1260, when Pope Alexander IV gave the Dominican order permission to organize a 100-day festival in honour of their founder – St. Dominic. For centuries, craftsmen, salesmen and artists from all over Europe have always come to Gdansk in August to trade and perform in front of the public. The tradition of the fair was abruptly brought to a halt by World War II for several decades, but in 1972 the feast returned and continues uninterrupted to this day.

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Good food, craftsmanship and second hand gems during St. Dominic’s Fair

This year, 650 stalls have been prepared for the guests, located along 21 streets. Most of them are stands of artisans and collectors, but there are also artistic and culinary stalls. What has made the St. Dominic’s Fairstand out for years is the Flea Market, where you can pick out real second-hand gems. Antiques, old vinyl records, mechanical devices from several decades ago, porcelain trinkets, old clocks and huge garden sculptures are only a few of the masterpieces you can find among the numerous booths. And since they are most often sold by enthusiasts, you get a nice conversation for free! What is interesting, there is also a mini  flea market dedicated to children.

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Culinary stops are located at Targ Węglowy (the Coal Market), Targ Rybny (the Fish Market), Długie Ogrody street, the Świętopełek Park and Ołowianka island. You can enojy regional specialties as well as delicacies inspired by the cuisine from all around the world. There are Greek, Spanish, Turkish, Lithuanian, Lithuanian, American and Polish delicacies. You will also have a traditional waffle, Italian and American ice-cream and fresh fruit dipped in chocolate. To sum up – everyone can enjoy some good food!

Sports activities enthusiasts will be entertained at the Coal Market, and those who expect a cultural experience from the Fair can visit a music and relaxation station in the Świętopełek Park, or a music and cinema station on Ołowianka island. Unfortunately, this year’s artistic programme has been limited, so amateurs of large concert events will leave empty handed. Or, rather, empty eared. At least until next year.

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Due to the fact that the Fair has always been a press event, on the occasion of its 760th anniversary, the Coal Market offers a historical exhibition of photographs and press covers related to the post-war editions of this Gdańsk feast. The full programme together with the map is available at www.jarmarkdominika.pl.

760th edition is more modest

This edition is unique for two reasons. Firstly, the fair celebrates its 760th anniversary, and secondly, it takes place in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. So it is certainly an anniversary that will go down in history. To ensure maximum safety for the visitors, the organisers had to plan the logistics differently. This year is much calmer. The grand opening ceremony was broadcast online, large artistic events were cancelled and stalls were set up at greater distances. Disinfectants are available at the fair, and sellers wear masks or face shields. Some people ask themselves:  in such a situation, was the Fair worth organizing at all? It is difficult to find a straight answer to this question, but surely it is a great opportunity for sellers and artists, for whom the Gdańsk Fair has always been the key event in maintaining business.

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