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A Bohemian Summer Fair

Every year in our local town of Úštěk in north Bohemia there is the Summer Fair which is locally known as Jarmark. There are actually many of these events through the year, at Easter and Christmas, but the Summer one is possibly the busiest with the most going on.

The whole historic center of the town is closed off and there are stalls and shops selling local foods, drinks, handmade crafts, there are music and entertainment events, and one of my favorite shops in Úštěk - Vino Darky Caje - even sells From No 19 Bags!

Over the years we’ve been to many of these events but as we used to come here for our summer holidays, the Summer Jarmark is the one we most often get to.

Starting pretty early in the morning and continuing well into the night, the fair usually ends with a spectacular fireworks display in front of the church at around 10pm.

I woke up this morning at around 6am to an unfamiliar sound: rain! We’ve had the hottest summer ever and yet today we had rain. I messaged my friends who I intended going to the fair with to ask them if they still wanted to go… their reply was to see me outside my house at 9:30.

Úštěk is an ancient town built onto a hill which we always said resembles a dragon’s back. It’s a remarkable place and filled with stunning architecture, cobbled streets, and a beautiful church. There are often historic films shot here one of the most notable being Jojo Rabbit.

It’s a truly a beautiful place and in the sunshine it’s stunning. But this morning was particularly wet for a summer fair. I believe even my underwear was drenched before I’d even made it to the main square at the top of the hill and I was wearing a raincoat!

I must admit it was a lot quieter than usual and there were sadly fewer stalls, but we did get to look around at our leisure and there were none of the usual crowds that gather here.

There was the beautiful glassware produced by the man who was my neighbor for a while. There was a stall selling tiny dolls house ceramics, one selling every kind of biscuit cutter known to man, flowers stalls, baskets, wine, soaps, creams… and even antiques!

We had some food and at around 11am and we decided that it might be better to go home and sit by the fire and dry off with a nice cup of tea. So, with a quick stop off at my house so I could change into some dry clothes, that’s what we did.

As we were leaving the rain started to ease up a little and there were a lot more people arriving in this beautiful town. Although it was wetter than anything I’d experienced in many years, it was a great morning out. The whole thing took me right back to summer holidays in Britain 💚

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