The Birthday of Pilsner Beer was Celebrated by Approximately Thirty Thousand People
Twenty musicians, rain and shine, culinary specialities, brewery and brewery museum tours, all that was offered at the Pilsner Fest 2008. Approximately thirty thousand people from Pilsen, the entire Czech Republic, as well as from abroad, came to celebrate the 166th birthday of Pilsner Urquell. The two-day festival introduced bands from many musical genres. The band Kryštof enjoyed the reward of a great success and a packed town square, while the full lower courtyard of the brewery had the chance to appreciate the performance of the Eben Brothers and of Dan Barta & Illustratosphere.
On Friday morning two flags were raised on the water tower to mark the beginning of the celebration. In the afternoon bugles at both the city tower and the brewery announced the festival’s start. Pavel Rödl spoke from the podium for the Town of Pilsen, one of the organisers of the event, and joined Mike Short, General Director of Pilsner Urquell, in a celebratory toast.
During the Pilsner Fest, at the podium on the Republic Square, musical groups such as Different D.I.S.C.O., Scissorhands, David Kraus Band, Wohnout, Priessnitz and Krystof were introduced. The brewery scene hosted Jana Lota, the Eben Brothers and Dan Barta & Illustratosphere, among others.
The programme was not limited to the podiums. During the course of the two days more than eight hundred visitors attended the Brewery Museum, completely filling the capacity for the tours. At the museum’s courtyard the guests were welcomed by an accordionist playing Czech tunes and the programme was livened up by three groups of actors in period costumes playing related sketches. On Saturday old Czech recipes were collected and visitors could taste culinary specialities such as potato pancakes (cmunda), potato crepes (lokše) and, of course, beer.
The expanded brewery tour also took visitors into the cooper shop and demonstrated the traditional craft of making oaken lager casks. The brewery tour, which was livened up by a performance of a drummer band Muerta Menta, attracted over two thousand visitors which is four times the number of average daily attendance.
The traditional Pilsner restaurants Na Spilce, U Salzmannu, Na Parkanu, Uctivany Velbloud, Svejk Restaurant U Petatricatniku, Svejk U Zeleneho stromu, and Motorest Na Rozcesti offered a festival of great Czech cuisine in their stands on the square and in the brewery. The international cuisine was represented by Courtyard by Marriott as a part of the Gastrofest event.
“Pilsen comes alive once a year in a very specific way. The Czechs celebrate the birth of their national beverage, the Pilsner beer. The golden colour and white head of the Pilsner beer was first tasted in Pilsen on 5 October, 1842. We estimate that some 30 thousand visitors celebrated the 166th anniversary this year,” says Jiri Marecek of Plzeňský Prazdroj.
The serene atmosphere of the festival was also improved by the so-called beer circle. This feature from last year made life easier for legal age visitors who look younger and would have to show their ID each time when buying beer. Two information stands of NGO Sananim and the Besip association offered their services to drivers and measured blood alcohol. Also drivers could enjoy their beer at the festival, but only non-alcoholic. Visitors could of course taste the premium lager Pilsner Urquel, the star of the celebration, and also the special semi-dark beer Master 13°, and the already mentioned non-alcoholic Radegast Birell.
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More information and full resolution photographs may be found at www.pilsnerfest.cz.