During the last weekend of September, the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre Litexpo will accommodate one of the major active leisure promotion events in Lithuania’s capital – Vilnius Sports and Culture Festival. It will also embrace a number of weekend events that make part of the European Week of Sport weekend BEACTIVE Night.
On the occasion of Lithuania’s 100th anniversary, a decision was made to extend the sports festival to a cultural exhibition, which will serve as a platform for the publicity of activities and educational programmes carried out by cultural and art institutions and the presentation of a number of initiatives for promoting diverse forms of cultural involvement. The Sports and Culture Festival offers its visitors an ideal opportunity to find a leisure activity of their own choice and taste.
‘Since we have a great many of sports and cultural sections to offer, this festival is an attempt, so to say, to kill two birds with one stone,’ explained one of the organizers, Director of Sveikas miestas Mantas Paulauskas. ‘Children can have universal skills. No wonder that a child attending a sports section can simultaneously take guitar lessons. For instance, as a child, I played tennis and sang in the Ąžuoliukas Chorus. This festival will allow our visitors to find a desired activity, and parents will be able to give their children some guidance on available options.’
Indraja Vaitkūnaitė, communication coordinator for Kirtimai Cultural Centre, which is responsible for the cultural part of the festival, emphasised that such festival is highly needed for cultural institutions. ‘In terms of culture, the festival plays an important role, as it is the first of its kind. Organising sports events is a normal practice, while one of the most widely known cultural events is the annual book fair or Art Vilnius. Lithuania has never seen a festival that specifically gives cultural institutions a good chance to introduce themselves. People will be able to explore preferable activities or learn about meaningful forms of leisure,’ said I. Vaitkūnaitė.
During the events, educational programmes will be presented by Vilnius galleries, art schools and a number of initiatives implemented to arouse interest in culture. Building 1 of the Exhibition and Congress Centre Litexpo, where the culture fair is to take place, will also accommodate a cinema hall. It will not only offer a film programme for different age groups of viewers, but also provide information about film education possibilities for children and youth.
‘The festival has a far-reaching programme, which suits the needs of both our youngest visitors and adults. We expect that people will visit us with their families to spend a highly entertaining weekend. Besides, within the framework of the festival, there will be a number of concerts, an art and design fair, creative workshops, where everyone will be welcome to get some hands-on experience in various fields of activity ranging from active stage arts to the creation of comics or calligraphy, which requires great dedication and care. And that’s not all! We are quite sure that every visitor will discover some new, curious and unexpected things’, told I. Vaitkūnaitė.
The fact that the sports festival expanded and joined culture does not mean that the sports clubs fair will shrink in size. The entire exhibition now will take a second Litexpo building, which has not been used before.
The festival will culminate with an event within an event – European Week of Sport weekend #BEACTIVE NIGHT. It will include a mass night sports fiesta BEACTIVE Night encompassing different entertainments, challenges, a Zumba marathon, training sessions with famous foreign instructors and a night run.
Also the festival will introduce a new player in our market – the global sporting goods network Decathlon. ‘We are pleased with the market entry of the global leader, who is opening its first and the largest sporting goods store in the Baltics. Guests of the festival will have an exciting opportunity to be first in Lithuania to find out about Decathlon’s concept and at least have a glimpse at several product ranges out of 70 sports that they represent,’ revealed M. Paulauskas.
Organisers are convinced that the event will be a success, as practicing sport or showing interest in culture becomes trendy even today, at the times of prevalence of smart technologies among young people. ‘Although computers and smart technologies take a substantial share in our lives, at least in Vilnius we notice that the city’s residents are very curious, and the interest in diverse cultural events keeps growing,’ added I. Vaitkūnaitė.
Vilnius Sports and Culture Festival, which is to be held on 29-30 September, will take five Litexpo halls and a cinema hall. Two halls will accommodate an exhibition of cultural and art institutions, an art and design fair, cultural lifestyle events and a cinema hall. A third hall will be dedicated to a healthy lifestyle and sporting goods exhibition, where visitors will be offered high-quality workout clothing or other accessories to buy and will learn about sports news and trends in healthy lifestyles. Other halls will hold the BEACTIVE Night event featuring the most popular European and American instructors, also open sessions for different sports and a sports and wellness clubs fair. Also, everyone will be invited to take part in a wellness and sports conference ‘Active training’.
Curious facts: area – 12,000 m2, over 100 events and more than 100 organisations, 10,000 students and 5,000 athletes and sports enthusiasts. More than 20,000 visitors are expected.
‘We hope that the number of people coming to the event will continue to increase every year. I believe that this year we will reach a record number of both participants and visitors,’ pointed out M. Paulauskas.
Vilnius Sports and Culture Festival is organised by the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre Litexpo, Budgetary Institution Kirtimų kultūros centras, Public Institution Sveikas miestas and Association Sportas visiems.