St John Fair 2019

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  • Friday, June 14, 2019 - Sunday, June 16, 2019

The history of Kraków during the Golden Age wasn’t just shaped by magnates. Regardless whether the king and his court were in residence at Wawel, the city followed its own rules and its daily rhythm was marked by the work of ordinary people: merchants, priests, artists, craftsmen and many other Cracovians we would struggle to name today. One of the most important institutions of the time was the Kraków Academy, which endowed the city with splendour.

The tenth anniversary St. John’s Fair visits the Czerwieński Boulevard between 14 and 16 June. Events traditionally include myriad workshops, demonstrations and attractions re-enacting former customs and traditions, and this year we have a special leading theme: we will take a look at the 16th-century city and its residents, paying particularly close attention to students and the city guards who had the misfortune to have to deal with them.

Events are preceded by two guided tours through Kraków (8 and 9 June): the first introduces the realities of student life at the time and the relationship between town and gown, while the second reveals the extent of their gallivanting. We will explore whether the city rules were respected and how miscreants were dealt with. During the main weekend of the fair, participants compete for the title of top scholar and vie to be admitted as readers at the Kraków Academy. We pose as jolly scholars to visit local inns and join in with dances to the accompaniment of traditional musicians. We will admire performances by conjurers, jesters and comedians and applaud displays by guardsmen and falconers and their splendid birds. But keep your tempers in check – city ruffians will be in hot pursuit of any brawlers! We will be minded to keep within the law by Town Hall sentries (judges of first instance) and an executioner showing off his convoluted instruments of torture.

Although we have far more in common with ordinary burghers than powerful magnates, the fair will be as grand as a royal feast! 

Iza Osiadły, magazine Karnet

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