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News 31 Dec 12

Belgrade Ends 2012 With Fun for Everyone

From rock bands to classical concerts, street food, children’s theatres and scary rides, there are attractions for all age groups and tastes over Christmas and New Year.

Gordana Andric
BIRN
Belgrade
Winter in Belgrade. | Photo by Beta

New Year’s Eve parties in the capital take place at two new locations – Trg Republike, where rock and pop musicians will perform, and the Sava Centre, where New Year will be welcomed on a more classical note.

Concerts at both venues last from 9pm until 2am. At the main stage on Trg Republike revellers can listen to the pop rock band Masterblasters, hip-hop singer Marcelo and hip-hop band Iskaza, cellist Jelena Mihailovic, a musician who combines Balkan melodies with jazz and rock, Dejan Pejovic, and the popular rock band Elektricni orgazam.

The indoor classic and jazz party at Sava Centre will be free of charge, but visitors still need to pick up tickets at the ticket office. Along with works by Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, opera and jazz, Belgraders will have the chance to hear traditional Serbian music performed by Bilja Krstic and the Brothers Teofilovic.

The Belgrade Tourist Organisation expects about 15,000 foreigners to serenade the start of 2013 in the Serbian capital.

The City budget for the two parties this year is €92,000, half of the money that Belgrade spent last year. However, the City hopes to make up for the relative lack of funding with a wider offer.

“Despite the lower budget we came up with a richer programme than we had in previous years,” said Tanja Pasic, from the city administration, explaining that from December 28th to 30th the flagship Knez Mihailova Street will be hosting various stands featuring street artists.

Another novelty is that a number of cultural institutions in the city centre, such as the Gallery of the Cultural Centre of Belgrade, the Institute Cervantes and the City Library, will organise programmes for free.

As every year, Belgraders will mark the first day of 2013 at the annual Open Heart Street carnival, where theatre groups, clowns, magicians, jugglers, fairies and, of course, Santa Claus will be on hand.

On every New Year’s Day since 1988 tens of thousands of people have gathered on the dot of noon outside Atelje 212 theatre to stroll down Svetogorska, the “street of the open heart”.

The road is closed to traffic so that revellers can enjoy the open-air theatre, street entertainers, food and hot drinks.

Open Heart Square, a Christmas/frost fair like those held in many European capitals, will be open on Trg Republike from December 1st to January 10th.

At wooden huts built to resemble those in Santa Claus’s home in the far north, Belgraders can sip mulled wine and hot rakija, buy New Year’s gifts and souvenirs and munch snacks. There are also special programmes for children.

Plays and concerts will be held on the stage almost daily. On December 14th children will be making ice sculptures, and on December 29th and 30th the children’s theatre Boško Buha will perform.

Open Heart events support charitable organisations and this year the organisers invite everyone to buy their special mugs and thus donate to mothers of newborn Belgrade babies, or donate toys and children’s clothes.

The Christmas fair at Trg Republike is not the only winter fair that Belgrade has to offer. The New Year’s Fair at Belgrade Fair will also be open from December 14th to December 30th.

This fair is also Belgrade’s biggest amusement park, with 37 different rides. While many are designed to pump the adrenalin of adults, 15 of them are suited for younger folk.

The entrance fee is 250 dinars [€2], while rides cost 30 to 150 dinars [€0.2 - €1.3]. The fair is open from 1pm to 8pm on weekdays and from 10am to 8pm on weekends.

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