The traditional St Casimir Fair – or Kaziuko mugė – kicks off in Vilnius on Friday. The organisers promise a plastic-free fair, while some events had to be cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.
St Casimir Fair, which pays tribute to the country's patron saint, dates back to the 17th century. Nowadays, the 3-day event attracts artists, craftsmen and traders from across the region.
Last year, St Casimir Fair was visited by half a million people. The organisers do not expect to repeat the record this year due to concerns about the coronavirus.
“We had to give up some events that were planned indoors, like the children's fair and the grand hall in Cathedral Square,” says Vaiva Jozaitytė, one of the organisers. “All the events are moved to the open space by the bell tower [in Cathedral Square'.”
The city has advised people with chronic conditions against visiting the fair. Other recommendations include washing hands and avoiding cash transactions.
Moreover, the guests have been urged to bring multi-use bags, since it will be the city's first event after deciding to phase out plastic.
“If the coronavirus taught us to wash hands, I hope that this fair will be the first one to teach people to use less plastic,” according to Juozaitytė.
All outdoor restaurants at the fair will be serving food in compostable plates. Traders have also been urged to forgo plastic bags. The organisers themselves plan to distribute some 30,000 paper bags.
St Casimir Fair, held on the weekend closest to March 4 (Feast of St Casimir), begins with a procession from Lukiškės Square to Cathedral Square at 14.00 on Friday.