Over 120 exhibitors with 1,100 animals – sheep, goats, dogs and horses took part in the third edition of the National Festival of Sheep Breeders in Bulgaria. The event was held from 3 to 6 May 2014 near the “St. st. Peter and Paul” Monastery in the area between Veliko Tarnovo and Lyaskovets, and it was attended by over 130 000 people.
The exhibition was situated in an area of 80 acres, with two sets of scenes, 4000 m2 exhibition posts and temporary exhibition facilities, 30 tents with craft goods, a large tent of 1100 square meters – where presentations of different things took place, including: various types of sheep and goats, horselines with hitches, a terrain for competitions in pulling loads by horses with a heavy length of 60m and width of 12m, electric fences, an exhibition lot for equipment, facilities for stock breeding and many other things.
The event was launched in the presence of His Excellency Shaul Kamins Raz – Israeli ambassador in Bulgaria, prof. Dimitar Grekov – Minister of Agriculture and Food, Burhan Abazov – Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Tsvetelina Borislavova – Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Bulgarian-American Bank, Prof. Vassil Nikolov – Executive Director of EASRAB (Executive Agency for Selection and Reproduction of Animal Breeding), as well as members of the parliament and mayors.
Guests of the third edition of the fair were also stock breeding associations from Georgia, Moldova, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary and Macedonia. Represantatives of those countries, along with Bulgarian farmers participated in a round table discussion at the Park Hotel “Arbanassi” on May 5th about the problems and prospects of the sector in different countries.
A campaign titled “Straight from the Farm”, intended for the creation of a shortcut for fast admission of quality and variety of dairy and animal products directly from manufacturers, was also launched at the festival. Thanks to the cooperation of Dr. Michael Angerer, head of the Commercial Department of the Austrian Embassy, a partner in the campaign for short supplies is BILLA Bulgaria with 86 stores in the country. The company had its own information booth at the fair, along with resources for interaction and direct negotiations with farmers in order for them to sell their products, including boutique stock production.
In the four days of the festival near the “St. st. Peter and Paul” Monastery there were competitions in race milking and shearing, towing a cargo of drafting horses, expert lamb-boning, demonstrations of speed shearing, auction for breeding animals, lot sales for sheep meat and goat milk and meat, competitions for the best cheese, mini-dairies, with the participation of companies offering different agricultural equipment, including “Titan Machinery Bulgaria” and others.
An interesting attraction for the spectators and participants were the National Exhibitions of the Pleven Blackhead sheep, different types of Pedigree sheep, rams, lambs and goats as well as the National selection review of the Karakachan dog.
Under the patronage of the Minister of Culture Petar Stoyanovich the second edition of the National Folklore Festival “My little lamb sang to me” (“Zableyalo mi agantse”) which was attended by over 2011 artists in various categories and age groups. They demonstrated musical, dance and oral folklore, art and crafts related to sheep and customary practices on St. George’s Day in different ethnographic regions of Bulgaria. Various museums around the country presented mobile ethnographic exhibitions dedicated to sheepherding.
For the first time this year, the festival held a contest for the best St. George ritual bread, which was kneaded in place and by tradition was baked in special pans. An exhibition of icons of St. George was shown, and 135 young artists from across the country participated in the National drawing competition for children on a sheepherding theme. Over 100 people participated in the organized wrestling games and the winner walked away with a ram flung over their shoulder as a prize.
Near the “St. st. Peter and Paul” monastery typical Rodopean cheverme (type of barbecued lamb meat) was made while chefs Petrov and Uti Bachvarov made culinary shows, demonstrating different ways to prepare lamb trap kavarma and boiled mutton for over 3,000 people. The evenings echoed with folklore and mystical fire-dancers on ember.