GRAPEBALLGROŽĐEBAL

Text by Tomislav Milunov and Vojislav Milunov

Vrsac is one of the oldest Banat towns, located in the South Banat district at the foothills of the Vrsac mountains in the Republic of Serbia. It is known for its developed culture and rich tradition, wine, viticulture and grapes. This small town is characterized by a large manifestation “Days of Grape Harvest” popularly called “GrapeBall”, which is held every year in the third week of September.

This event lasts for three days, with a very diverse and characteristic program. Marked with good wine, song and dance. The event begins with a grand opening attended by citizens and guests of the festival. At the opening ceremony, the mayor hands over the keys to the city to the mascot of the event “Vinko Lozić” – the mayor of “Grape Ball”. When Vinko Lozić takes over the keys, Vršac becomes a completely different place – “Vršac where all the streets are drunk, where tambourines and bohemian songs can be heard all night and from the most secret streets”.

Vinko Lozić is the protective person of the “GrapeBall”. He is a well-known wine drinker, a character created by a great writer from Vršac, Jovan Sterija Popović. As it is written, Vinko Lozić, an ancient Banat bohemian, was born in 1830 in Vršac to father Jovan Sterija Popović and mother of a vineyard villa. Vinko Lozić still lives today, but he was seen only during the festival. Citizens are satisfied with the rule of Vinko Lozić, a bohemian and merrymaker, who they say is a “direct descendant” of Bacchus, the God of grapes, wine and a symbol of life energy.

When he took the keys and announced the beginning of the festival, a variety of colors spread in the sky as if someone had painted a picture. From the reflection of fireworks shining in the sky, the observer creates a special pleasure and experience. The music that spreads throughout the city, the game and the song seem to last too short. People are embraced, happy and stunned by the intensity of good wine and unforgettable atmosphere. After a good time, the selection for the most beautiful girl “Grape Harvest Day” follows. Young girls in beautiful dresses appear in front of an expert jury, which chooses the most beautiful one from the beautiful girls, who will take the “Miss Grape Harvest” ribbon. The second day of the event is very fun for everyone. The day is reserved for an exhibition of grapes and autumn fruits that are on display in the hall of the town hall. The hall itself looks very enchanting, as if you are on the threshold of some historical castle. The walls are decorated with authentic baroque style, very colorful paintings. Sweet fruit scents stretch across the entire exhibition hall. When leaving the exhibition, you can hear about an exciting chess tournament in honor of Bora Kostić, a chess professional, who never had a job other than playing chess. He was the champion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in chess in 1935, 1937 and 1938.

The Vršac grape harvest, the biggest event with the longest experience of its kind in the country, has not forgotten its youngest. In addition to the amusement park and attractive events for the youth, a big grape masquerade for the youngest is also organized. Children, with the help of their parents, compete in making the most beautiful masks that they present on stage. Children in disguise appear on the big stage in the town square. Each participant received a sweet package as a gift, and a special award from the festival sponsor was prepared for the winner.

In the evening, you can again see people singing, dancing and having fun with a rich cultural and artistic program. A large number of guests come to the city under the hill, from Serbia itself, as well as from Bolivia, Mexico, Austria, Canada, Slovenia, but also from neighboring countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia. Also, they have the opportunity to show their folklore skills. The cultural and artistic program presents folk dances and songs of all participants. Especially interesting is the game “Kolo” – a kind of collective folk game, which UNESCO included in the world list of intangible cultural heritage in 2017.

On the last day of the festival, a ceremonial parade of participants led by the mayor of “Grape Ball”, Vinko Lozić, with his bohemian orchestra passes through the city. Behind them passes the most beautifully decorated carriage from “Miss Grape Harvest”, followed by people who share freshly picked grapes. All this is completed by all the participants of the manifestation, who once again present themselves to the audience through play and song. After the ceremonial parade of festival participants, the city is flown by planes that greet those present in a spectacular way. They drop parachutes with grapes and special prizes. Only the most memorable manage to get a reward and sweet pleasure in the form of grapes from the plantations of Vršac vineyards. This event announces the end of the festival, which is accompanied by the return of the keys of the city by Vinko Lozić,  to the  real mayor of Vršac. Vrsac again becomes a small town tucked away at the foothills of the Vrsac Mountains.

Text by Tomislav Milunov and Vojislav Milunov

Vršac je jedan od najstarijih banatskih gradova, smešten u Južnobanatskom okrugu u podnožju vršačkih planina u Republici Srbiji. Poznat je po razvijenoj kulturi i bogatoj tradiciji, vinu, vinogradarstvu i grožđu. Za ovaj mali grad karakteristična je velika manifestacija “Dani berbe grožđa” popularno nazvana “Grožđebal”, koja se održava svake godine u trećoj nedelji septembra meseca.

Ova manifestacija traje tri dana, sa veoma raznovrsnim i karakterističnim programom. Obeležen dobrim vinom, pesmom i igrom. Manifestacija počinje svečanim otvaranjem na kojem su prisutni građani i gosti festivala. Na ceremoniji otvaranja gradonačelnik predaje ključeve grada maskoti manifestacije “Vinku Loziću” – gradonačelniku “Grožđebala”. Kada Vinko Lozić preuzme ključeve, Vršac postaje sasvim drugačije mesto – “Vršac gde su pijane sve ulice, gde se cele noći i iz najtajnijih ulica čuju tamburaši i boemske pesme”.

Vinko Lozić je zaštitna osoba “Berbe grožđa”. Poznati je vinopija, lik kojeg je stvorio veliki pisac poreklom iz Vršca, Jovan Sterija Popović. Kako piše, Vinko Lozić, drevni banatski boem, rođen je 1830. godine u Vršcu od oca Jovana Sterije Popovića i majke vinogradarske vile. Vinko Lozić i danas živi, ali je viđen samo za vreme trajanja festivala. Građani su zadovoljni vladavinom Vinka Lozića, boema i veseljaka, za koga kažu da je “direktni potomak” Bahusa, boga grožđa, vina i simbol životne energije.

Kada preuzme ključeve i proglasi početak festivala, na nebu se rasprostre šarenilo boja kao da je neko naslikao sliku. Od odsjaja vatrometa koji na nebu svetluca posmatrač stvara poseban užitak i doživljaj. Muzika koja se rasprostire duž celog grada, igra i pesma čini se da prekratko traje. Ljudi su zagrljeni, veseli i ošamućeni od žestine dobrog vina i nezaboravne atmosfere. Nakon dobrog provoda sledi izbor za najlepšu devojku “Dana berbe grožđa”. Mlade devojke u predivnim haljinama izlaze pred stručni žiri koji od lepih devojaka izabere onu najlepšu koja će poneti lentu “Mis berbe grožđa”. Drugi dan manifestacije svima je veoma zabavan. Dan je rezervisan za izložbu grožđa i jesenjih plodova koji su izloženi u holu gradske kuće. Sam hol izgleda veoma očaravajuće, kao da ste na pragu nekog istorijskog zamka. Zidovi su ukrašeni autentičnim baroknim stilom, veoma živopisnih slika. Slatkasti mirisi voća se pružaju duž čitave izložbene dvorane. Prilikom izlazka sa izložbe možete čuti o uzbudljivom šahovskom turniru u čast Bore Kostića, šahovskog profesionalca, koji nikada nije imao drugi posao osim što je igrao šah. Bio je šampion Kraljevine Jugoslavije u šahu 1935, 1937 i 1938. godine.

Berba vršačkog grožđa, najveći događaj sa najdužim iskustvom te vrste u zemlji, nije zaboravila svoje najmlađe. Pored luna parka i atraktivnih dešavanja za omladinu, organizuje se  i veliki grožđebalski maskebal za najmlađe. Deca uz pomoć roditelja takmiče se u pravljenju najlepših maski koje predstavljaju na bini. Deca se maskirana pojavljuju na velikoj sceni na gradskom trgu. Svaki učesnik dobija na poklon slatki paket, a za pobednika je pripremljena specijalna nagrada sponzora festivala.

U večernjim terminima opet možete videti ljude koji pevaju, igraju i vesele se uz bogati kulturno-umetnički program. Veliki broj gostiju dolazi u grad pod bregom, kako iz same Srbije, tako i iz Bolivije, Meksika, Austirje, Kanade, Slovenije ali i iz susednih zemalja poput Rumunije, Bugarske, Mađarske i Hrvatske. Takđe, oni imaju priliku da pokažu svoje folklorne vešrine. Kulturno-umetnički program predstavlja narodne igre i pesme svih učesnika. Posebno je zanimljiva igra “Kolo” – vrsta kolektivne narodne igre, koju je Unesco uvrstio na svetsku listu nematerijalnog kulturnog nasleđa 2017. godine.

Poslednjeg dana festivala kroz grad prolazi svečani defile učesnika predvođen gradonačelinkom “Grožđebala”, Vinkom Lozićem sa svojim boemskim orkestrom. Za njima prolazi najlepše ukrašeni fijaker sa “Mis berbe grožđa”, a odmah za njom ljudi koji dele tek ubrano grožđe. Sve to upotpunjuju svi učesnici manifestacije koji se još jednom kroz igru i pesmu predstavljaju publici. Nakon svečanog defilea učesnika festivala, grad nadleću avioni koji prisutne pozdravljaju na spektakularan način. Oni ispuštaju padobrančiće sa grožđem i specijalnim nagradama. Samo oni najsećniji uspeju da se domognu nagrada i slatkog zadovoljstva u vidu grožđa sa plantaža vršačkih vinograda. Ovim događajem se najavljuje  sam kraj festivala koju prati povratak ključeva grada od strane Vinka Lozića, gradonačelniku grada Vršca. Vršac ponovo postaje  mali gradić ušuškan u podnožju Vršačkih planina.

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