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Limassol Wine Festival In Cyprus

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Information on the Limassol Wine Festival held in Limassol each year.

The Vraga Man - Limassol Wine Festival        Photo © CyprusExpat.co.uk

For many years the organization of the Wine Festival was a matter of great discussion and consideration by the vine industries, local associations and other interested parties. The venture was considered too risky, not only because of the heavy economic burden it entailed but also because of the uncertainty of its success and it was therefore deferred from year to year.

The late Cleanthis Christoforou, Chairman of the Lemesos (Limassol) Development Association in 1961, placed before the Association his plans for the Wine Festival. He swept aside all skeptics and hesitations from his colleagues . "Stand by me and we will do it" he said. The board members of the Association and the Federation of the Trade and Industry, two closely cooperating bodies, got together to plan this difficult task. They had to create an original show with local color being that it was the first event of its kind with no previous example to follow.

The idea of the Festival was met with great enthusiasm by the local wineries: ETKO, KEO, SODAP, LOEL, who all gave their assistance and offered all their wines free of charge.

They all built their own pavilions for the exhibition and tasting of their wines. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, under the Lemesos (Limassol)ian Minister, the late Andrea Araouzos, gave their assistance and approved a grant to cover part of the expenses. The Lemesos (Limassol) Municipality, under the elected Mayor the late Costas Partasides, allowed the use of the Municipal Gardens free and waived the Municipal tax of tickets.

Local amateur actors, artists, musicians, dancing and singing parties from all over Cyprus offered their talents. In a few days the stage was set; an open air theater depicting a Cypriot village with a cafe, tavern, local representations and decorations and rehearsals started

The most impressive decoration was the giant Cypriot, about 7 meters in height, a winegrower in his tradition local costume. This statue was placed inside the main entrance of the Municipal Garden. This figure was consecrated as the emblem of the Wine Festival in 1962 and remains there to this date. It was made by George Mavrogenis.

Along with the statue is the slogan "Drink Wine for Longer Life", the inspiration of Nicos Rousos.

The event was advertised as an original celebration and although there were many fears that it would not meet with public support it was a great success and the first day exceeded all expectations.

The primary purpose of having the Festival was for the promotion of the consumption of Cypriot wine in the local and foreign market and the easing of the wine problem which has been a burden to the producers and the Government, and at the same time offer entertainment to the people and the visitors of Cyprus.

The members of the organizing committee of the first Wine Festival were the late Cleanthis Christofou, Chairman, Stavros Galatoariotis, Kyriakos Hamboullas, Michael Theodosiou, Georgios Malliotis, Nicos Rousos and Panicos Charakis.

Cleanthis Christoforou, the Chairman, died a week after the end of the Festival; one could say that his death was the sacrifice to the god of wine, Dionysios, for the success of the Wine Festival.

The first Wine Festival was opened by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, the late Andreas Araouzos. All the Ministers of the Cypriot Government, including the Turkish Cypriot Minister, Osman Orek, Fazil Plumer and Niazi Maniera, were present at the opening. Also present were the the Ambassadors of France, Germany, Yugoslavia, Greece, USSR, USA, UK, Israel, China and Lebanon.

Since then the Wine Festival has been established as an annual event. Every year thousands of tourists, as well as locals from all over Cyprus, are attracted to Lemesos (Limassol)'s Municipal Gardens to participate in the Wine Festival.

There are free buses organised by the Cyprus Tourist Office.
The dates for the 2017 Limassol Wine Festival are: 31 August 2017 - 10 September 2017

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