Europeade 2011 - Day 3
The day started off with some interesting street performers - this one-man band had some serious rigging on himself (in addition to the usual bass drum, cymbals and bells, he had a guitar amp, a harmonica that rotated for all possible keys, a Janet-Jackson-head-mic, and tambourines on his shoes - very impressive). And then a man riding an old-fashioned bicycle had an entourage of smaller cyclists in front of him to make way for his taller set of wheels. The entourage was definitely needed today because it being Saturday, the streets were packed with people. The food stands and street vendors were busier than yesterday, I'm sure all hoping to sell off more goods than their neighbor. My lunch today was even better than the day before. I decided to cross the river to the other side of town to see what was going on - what looked like a weekly flea market became larger than usual and attached itself to the Europeade crowd. And in between folk groups performing on the neighborhood stage, a local dance group performed a very enthusiastic pop dance number set to what I'm assuming was a 1980's Estonian hit. Great outfits! My determining factor this time for which food stand I would eat from was set upon seeing a huge pig on a spit - that was my lunch spot! I had mushy potatoes with meat, cole slaw, and sour dough bread. And for dessert, I tried an old Hungarian sweet called kurtos - sweet dough wrapped around what looked like a wooden rolling pin, set over hot coals to bake, and then drenched in sugar and cinnamon. You eat it piping hot, and the sweet, cooked dough unravels as you devour it. Delicious!!
Another choral concert was held at the University of Estonia Hall, where there were some repeat performances from yesterday's program, but also a few new groups including singers from Munich, Germany and another group from L'Aquila, Italy. L'Aquila was supposed to be the 2012 host city for Europeade next year, however because of the devestation from the earthquake in 2009, Padua will be next year's host city. The group's classical operatic sound was gorgeous, and the singers' voices resonated beautifully throughout the hall.
The evening was then concluded by a beautiful reception held at the hotel convention center for all press, VIPs, and heads of visiting performing groups. There was a great introduction given by our host, Mayor Urmas Kruuse, who's energy and gregariousness come off quite well for such an event. Of course, President of Europeade, Mr. Bruno Peeters, was also there for the festivities - a delicious buffet of Estonian local dishes was presented, and we all feasted in costume, in dresses, and in company. After the meal, all of the visiting countries lined up to offer gifts from their homeland as a token of appreciation for the hosting country's hospitality, given to Mayor Kruuse, President Peeters, and the head of the local Europeade chapter for Estonia. When it came to be my turn to speak with each, I apologized for not having a gift to present, and Mr. Peeters kindly said in response, "You have been the most wonderful gift that I have been waiting for for years - I have always dreamed of having American interest in Europeade, and here you are today. Thank YOU." Wow! Such an honor coming from such highly respected and wonderful person.