The National Fair of the Sheep Breeders in Bulgaria will be held near Arbanasi for third consecutive year. It is expected to be much bigger and with much more participants compared to the previous ones. The event which is unique in its kind for Bulgaria is attracting more and more attention with each year and that’s why this time it is going to be 4 days long – from May, 3rd till May, 6th.
The sheep fair presents an intriguing mixture of tradition and modernism, history and present, heritage and perspectives in sheep breeding, which is a common means of living in European countries.
The presentation area near the Petropavlovski monastery is expanding almost twice and will reach the impressive 14 ha (140,000 sqm). 150 participants will present their products at more than 1/2 ha of stalls and pavilions and more than 1000 sheep, goats, horses, dogs and other species will be showed. Some of the latest state of the art agricultural machinery will also be exhibited at the fair. Delegations from 10 counties are coming for the show.
20 whole lambs will be slow-cooked over open fire (the so-called cheverme) by master chefs who will have 3-hour presentations each day.
A number of competitions will be held, among them shearing and manual milking contests. Dairy products making on the spot will be presented. For the first time visitors will be able to witness the so called Oil Wresting. It is so called because the wrestlers douse themselves with olive oil. Around 200 wrestlers or pehlivani of all ages are expected to take part. There will be shepherd dogs show and a museum exhibition called ‘Shepherd’s trade through ages’.
There will also be contests for the best picture under the ‘St. George’s day and Shepherds’ trade’ theme and best ritual bread and an auction for St. George icons, some of which very rare and unique. St George is very much honoured by the Eastern Orthodox Church, wherein he is referred to as a Great Martyr. His major feast day in Bulgaria is May, 6th. It is celebrated as the day of the shepherds and their flocks.
Two stages will be set up during the festive days. The second National Folklore Contest ‘Bleating lamb’ will be conducted there. More than 1600 singers and performers are expected to join in the singing, dancing and instrument playing competition. This year’s contest is held under the patronage of the Minister of culture Petar Stoyanovich.
Come and enjoy this wonderful feast!
Bulgarian Shepherd Dogs – Karakachan Dogs
Oil Wrestlers – Pehlivani