Best Practice in Participation of guests

Winner :
Jurmala

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Fish smoking in Jūrmala Open-Air Museum.

Jūrmala Open Air Museum visitors on a daily basis can get acquainted with the oldest fundamental activity of inhabitants of this city – fishing history, but during the summer season museum offers informative and entertaining series of events “Thursday – fish day”, which allows to everyone to try our “local taste”.
Up to the 19th century, fishery was the main occupation of the inhabitants of Jūrmala. Fresh smoked fish was casual dish and was delivered to cottagers and sent also to Riga.
Fish smoking is a good way for tourists to get to know the ancient culture and life of the inhabitants of Jūrmala a few centuries ago. Fish smoking days are held in summer every Thursday from 12.00 to 15.00. Everyone is able to watch the fish smoking trade’s educational demonstration, as well as participate in the process of preparing hot-smoked fish and blend with local people.
Fish smoking is a long and complicated process. For a pleasant result it requires not only fish and a smoke box, but also a lot of knowledge and great experience. Fish are caught in local waters, after cleansing they are salted and placed in the smokehouse, where they are assembled on the iron rods and prepared in the heat and a large amount of smoke.
In addition, visitors can try their hand at net patching agility, seaman’s knot tying and rope twisting. Youngest visitors will be able to find out and learn the characteristic pastimes and games of ancient fishermen’s children. Visitors can buy fresh and just smoked fishes. Entrance fee to this event is very symbolic – 1.00 EUR.
In this museum solstices and different festivities are also celebrated, for example “Wine festival in a fisherman’s farmstead” with home wine tasting, the best winemaker honouring, creative workshops, soup cooking and other activities. It allows to keep alive old traditions and ancient crafts.
The Jūrmala Open Air Museum was established in 1970 as a folk museum of fishermen collective farming. Authentic fishermen farms with their characteristic buildings of the 19th to 20th century are located there; they have been brought here for different parts of the city and contain living houses, barns, net sheds, and fish smoking house, baths and several other constructions. A collection of boats, anchors, and the biggest collection of ropes in Latvia can also be found in the museum. Group visitors can book excursions with rope stranding, tying sea knots, and patching nets, and the degustation of smoked fish with participation of Latvian traditional groups. There is a special program for newly married couples. The museum is located in Ragakāpa Nature Park’s territory.
If you want to see the old fish smoking trade displayed such as was in ancient times – welcome to visit Jūrmala Open Air Museum! Feel like a local and taste like a local during the fish smoking process!

Runner Up:
Laško

At the confluence of good tourists can discover a lot of green stories. From Roman times on Laško and Rimske Toplice have been known for its hot springs of thermal water in the middle of unspoiled nature along the river Savinja. Today locals are best known for beer and honey and its centuries-old tradition.

Honey stories – Visitors can learn about the benefits of bee products on health and life optimism at the local beekeepers. In addition, the beekeepers hold presentations about beekeeping. Visitors have the opportunity to taste and purchase honey products at local beekeepers, at tourist information center and on local market. Šolar beekeeping has a 30-year tradition in beekeeping as well as in one of the oldest crafts in Slovenia: making honey dough products. They hold demonstrations of the making and decorating of honey dough in which visitors can also be involved by trying to decorate the biscuits in traditional way. Another interesting part of art crafts is painting beehive panels, where the visitors can create their own unique beehive panel and have a special souvenir from Laško. They can also indulge in apitherapy or “bee therapy” which is the medicinal use of products made by honeybees. The use of the beehive products helps strengthen health, prevents and treats different conditions. In the Laško spa park visitors can find garden of honey-bearing plants with an exhibition featuring the Carniolan honey bee, which is native to Slovenia. There are plenty of honey-bearing plants, where honey bees collect a sugar-rich sticky liquid. Thermal spa Thermana Laško also offers well-being programmes based on honey. The Laško Municipality has been awarded the title of a “bee-friendly municipality” and Thermana Laško »bee-friendly company«. In 2016 was also opened new traditional municipal apiary as a learning beehive for children.

Beer experience -The brewing tradition in Laško dates back to 1825, when the mead producer and gingerbread baker Franz Geyer brewed the first Laško beer. Visitors can learn about the tradition and modern brewing procedures in the oldest Slovenian brewery where they also can taste the Laško beer and purchase unique souvenirs connected with the brewery Laško. They can also learn about the traditional way of pouring beer and learn about the brewing industry at Laško Museum. For ultimate experience tourists can stay overnight at Bed&Breakfast Savinja where the first mug of Laško beer was brewed. Thermal spa Thermana Laško also offers well-being programmes based on beer and beer hops.

Gastronomy – Laško cuisine is seasonally and locally oriented; a lot of restaurants use local ingredients from farms around Laško. Some of the restaurants use also beer and honey as a main ingredient for cooking. Visitors can also taste the traditional and unique honey pie with warmed cream from Thermana Laško. At the local tourist information center and a local market visitor and locals can buy homemade products from farms in Laško.

Runner Up:
Orseg

Pumpkin Festival of Őrség
Fourteen years ago some people in the Tourinform office decided to elongate the tourist-season of Őrség. As one of the main product of the area is pumpkin-seed-oil and the harvest is in late September, they created a one-day-program in Őriszentpéter (main settlement of Őrség region) on the very last Saturday of September.
The guests could make and taste all kind of food made of pumpkin, there was a food competition,too. They could try how to make oil of pumpkin seed, they carved their own jack-o’lantern…. next year the festival spot was so crowded that in the third year already 3 spots were created in Őriszentpéter with “pumpkin line” runing between them.
Guests enjoy activities: they made their jack-o’lantern, they wanted to participate a procession in the dark with candels in their lantern. Inhabitants also wanted take part, so they elected a “pumpkin king” who lead the procession. (Who has the biggest pumpkin in the year, he/she will be the king/queen.) After a few years other villages of the region would have liked to join the event. An elderly peasant woman of Nagyrákos show how people used to peel pumpkin seed: while guest are peeling she is telling stories. The village of Szalafő is the place were inhabitants and tourists participate together in the “pumpkin slinging competition”. Magyarszombatfa is a potter village were in the locally made pots all kinds of pumpkin food are prepared.
This year the Pumpkin Festival was already 3-day-long and 4 villages of Őrség give place for it. We think that this event was created by the inhabitants and tourists together. Local people ornate their gardens and streets with pumpkins and pumpkin men which give a special feeling on that weekend. Guests can feel that this festival wasn’t organized by one organization only for tourists, but this is a feast for everybody staying in Őrség.
After the festival all the stakeholders sit down and discuss what was good and what went wrong during the 3 days. Thus we know what guest suggested. For example: the access was difficult toward Szalafő so the “pumpkin line” also go out to that village. Pumpkin carving is difficult for small children, they need a “pumpkin play-tent” etc.
Finally 3 words why the Pumpkin Festival is so successful in Hungary:
-understand (needs of local community and guests),
-cooperate (more than many stakeholders),
-love.