Kozjansko Apple Festival
The Kozjansko Apple Festival is a traditional central event in Kozjansko park, at the Podsreda market town, which is held every year in the second week of October since 2000. The event represents the collaboration of the inhabitants of this protected biosphere area and the joint endeavours for the protection of nature and the preservation of the agricultural and cultural environment in the Kozjansko region. Its most characteristic environmental elements are the tall trunk meadow orchards with old varieties of apple trees.
Why do we celebrate the Kozjansko Apple Festival?
The apples of Kozjansko grow in high trunk meadow orchards which are among the most important protected habitats in Kozjansko park – this is the living habitat of certain types of endangered birds, such as Eurasian wrynecks, the green woodpecker, the grey-headed woodpecker, European scops owl, common redstart, small owl and red-backed shrike. Because of them, the meadow orchards are included in Natura 2000 under the “Birds Directive”.
Apple from a high trunk meadow orchard is a symbol of nature protection, the continuation of tradition and heritage of Slovenian ancestors, prosperity and healthy food as well as a symbol of recognition of the Kozjanski park protected area and identification of the locals with the protected area.
Apple which was put in focus of the holiday programme on both symbolic and substantive level, invites each year a number of qualified experts, exhibitors and vendors, as well as many cultural groups and artists from Slovenia and abroad.
Which events take place during the Kozjansko Apple Festival?
In the first days of the festival, a hike is organized through orchards in Kozjansko, different workshops, lectures, and an exhibition named Old varieties of apples is opened, whereas Saturday and Sunday are reserved for fair activities accompanied by a rich cultural programme.
A central role at the stalls is dedicated to organic farmers from the protected biosphere area and to artistic-handicraft workshops. The emphasis is on the old varieties of apples, the healthy agricultural products grown naturally, and the originally processed fruits for the winter. Craft workshops offer top quality products of traditional folk crafts. The festival is also an opportunity for societies and professional services co-managing the protected area to present themselves, as well as for numerous music groups, contributing to a pleasant atmosphere at the event with their cultural programme.
Fair events are accompanied by:
- presentation of how juice and spirits are made,
- exhibition of mushrooms,
- football tournament of veterans and youth tournament,
- children’s programme,
- the longest apple peel,
- recreational run to the Podsreda Castle – “An apple for a healthier life”,
- social cycling – “With an apple on a bike”,
- photographic extempore – “The Kozjansko apple”.
Carjevič title was first awarded in 2009. The title was given to Mr. Edi Rupret, who best took care of his meadow orchard in that year. In the following years, the Carjevič title was also given to Lajoš Špeljak, Janez Bračun, Janko Dobravc, Ivan Omerzu and Anton Kolar. Receivers of the Carjevič title are enthroned on a fruit throne, which stands in front of the Kozjansko park administration office.
Also the “Masters of Apple Strudel” were first chosen in 2009. As the contest in baking an “apple strudel” received a positive response both among the contestants and the “eaters”, the contest became a tradition. In 2014, the title of “Masters of Apple Strudel” was first awarded. Evaluated by a committee, the best apple strudel was baked by Tin Kohlenbrand and Marko Tomšič.