Events and festivals
The Vukovar Puppet Spring Festival
The Vukovar Puppet Spring is a national event for Croatian puppet theatres and puppet theatres from the diaspora, which was launched in 1996, when this area was going through the difficult years of war, so there was a need to create a cultural event for children.
The Vukovar Puppet Spring is held at Croatian Hall Vukovar every year before the Holy Week leading up to Easter. Around ten puppet shows are held over six days, which is especially interesting to children.
The Flower Festival
The Flower Festival is held in Vukovar in late April each year, with participation from local and regional growers, florists, flower arrangers and other related artisans, as well as flower and decorative plant enthusiasts.
Exhibits are also sold at the festival and give the centre of Vukovar a different, more colourful appearance, serving also as a salutation to spring and an overture to the celebration of Vukovar Day.
Labour Day Picnic in Adica park
A traditional May 1st excursion to the Adica Forest Park is held every year in this special location, a favourite among the residents of Vukovar, their friends and guests. This is an opportunity to have a picnic, spend some time, walk around and relax in this green oasis not far from the town’s centre. Traditionally, this is a day when one can grab a free plate of beans and visit amusement parks. It’s a day to relax, enjoy and spend time with friends.
Svi zaJedno hrvatsko naj
SVI zaJEDNO HRVATSKO NAJ project is a unique cultural and tourist event that brings together the media, culture and tourism, with an emphasis on experiences.
The festival was launched in 2018 in the European Year of Cultural Heritage and it is unique in the fact that it is the first Croatian festival to present Croatian intangible cultural heritage on the national and UNESCO’s lists, alongside top tourist events, sights and destinations from all over Croatia. By walking around Vukovar during the festival, visitors can find out about all the different events that take place in different parts of Croatia, try local Croatian cuisine and enjoy top Croatian wines. Additionally, visitors can enjoy concerts, creative workshops, exhibitions and performances by street musicians and performers, klapa singing, tamburica players, folk dancing and dance troupes. Positive vibrations and the wonderful atmosphere turn Vukovar’s streets and squares into a meeting place of different cultures, cuisines and entertainment, preserving and exhibiting the best of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage, connecting Croats from the homeland with Croatian emigrants and presenting the cultural heritage of minorities and other countries. The festival is held as part of Vukovar Day celebrations on 3 May.
The Actor’s Festival
The Actor’s Festival was established in 1994 by the Croatian Association of Drama Artists and Vukovar-Srijem County. This event has since developed into a festival which brings chamber plays and larger ensemble theatre shows to the audience. This is the only festival in Croatia specifically dedicated to the actor and their artistic creation. It’s a festival of good acting, acting skills, the actor’s personality, talent, idiosyncrasies and the light that never went out, held in Vukovar at Croatian Hall.
At the Actors’ Festival, the actors are the selectors, hosts, members of the jury and the awards are given out exclusively for acting performances.
Art Harbour – VukovArt
VukovaART is an event that transformed Vukovar into an urban environment rich in modern art. Since 2016, top international street artists have been coming to Vukovar to paint on public locations and buildings in Vukovar. It all began with the first creation of Filip Mrvelj, the street artist who painted a run-down wooden bridge in the centre of the town, thus marking the beginning of Vukovar’s contemporary story.
This ambitious project is transforming Vukovar’s image, placing it on the European and world’s map of modern art which is recognised in Croatia, the European Union and, ultimately, the world.
Art Harbour – VukovArt is a concept that promotes Vukovar as a place that accepts all artists and creators of new value.
This concept has also been changing the town’s visual identity, making it a better place to live, while the painted areas attract tourists who come to the town. In addition to 3D anamorphic paintings on Vukovar’s promenades and sidewalks, the façades of five buildings in Borovo Naselje have also been painted.
International Danube Day
Since Vukovar is a town on the Danube – the second largest European river – it is only natural that the town should become a part of this story and celebrate 29 June, International Danube Day, in some symbolic manner. After humble beginnings, every other year alternating between Vukovar and Ilok, the celebration transformed into a popular event that continues to evolve and expand with new content: from a fish stew festival to exhibitions, traditions related to everyday life near the Danube, fishing competitions and rides in vessels and boats.
Come and visit, because the Danube smells here like nowhere else!
There is no river that flows through as many countries as the Danube does on its path to its delta. The entire history of Central and Southeast Europe has been written on its banks and has left traces that are still visible today, making the Podunavlje a fascinating meeting point of cultures.
Often mentioned in songs and much travelled, the Danube inspires from its spring to its delta and has thus inspired the creators of DunavArt Festival which “flows and joins” Vukovar, Baranja, Ilok and Erdut into a unique artistic experience, bringing the best music to the Croatian Podunavlje while promoting the values of cultural heritage, wine and gourmet opulence and bringing countries on the Danube closer to Croatia.
Vukovar Film Festival
Danube Region Film Festival – Vukovar Film Festival was launched in 2007 and is unique in many ways. It is the only film festival which is literally held on the Danube itself, thus providing a unique experience. The festival was created to promote and expand the creative work of filmmakers from the Danube region.
It’s theme – films from the Danube region – is logically connected with Vukovar as the centre of the Croatian part of Podunavlje. Cultural influences have spread via the Danube since time immemorial. Because Vukovar is the heart of the Danube! Since the VFF is the only film festival in the region, its international goal is to connect filmmakers from the Danube region, whose film productions are among the most vital in the world today.
The festival is held during the summer months at the following locations: Terrace of the Agency for Inland Waterways, Eltz Manor park, Vukovar Ada, Cinestar Vukovar, Borovo Theatre and the Vukovar Waterbus. Over four to six festival days, many attractive, award-winning, high-quality films are screened, intended for an audience hungry for true cinema. Traditionally, the Zlatni šlep (the Golden Barge) award is awarded in three different categories: best feature film, best documentary film and best short film, with two three-member juries deciding the winners. The festival is accompanied by a number of workshops and additional events and concerts.
Tourism board’s event The Beauty of Diversity, which includes traditional cuisine of minorities, is also well received and has become an integral part of the Vukovar Film Festival.
The Vukovar Ethnic Fair
Traditional craftsmen and artisans producing handicrafts and antiques, food and beverages from all over Croatia exhibit their products at this fair, which is accompanied by a cornucopia of performing arts and culture. The fair is held annually, on the last weekend in September. In 2018, the Ethnic Fair received special acknowledgement for its promotion of traditional products, awarded as part of the Sunflowers of Rural Tourism award.
The Chamber of Trades and Crafts joined the event several years ago with its Tastes of Croatia programme, while Lions club Vukovar and the Association of Germans and Austrians take part in organising Vukovar’s version of Oktoberfest.
Advent in Vukovar and Vukovar Advent Festivities
On the foundations of traditional culture, Vukovar Advent Festivities have been held annually since 1997 and include a number of musical and stage performances, accompanied by the lighting of advent candles. During the festivities for the first Sunday, a glowing river of torches carries a light through the streets of Vukovar from Saint Philip and Jacob Church to Eltz Manor, where the light is carried inside and the first advent candle is lit, accompanied by a presentation of traditional customs.
Advent in Vukovar has been growing year after year, so over the course of four Advent weeks there is a living nativity scene, various shows and workshops in Santa’s Corner, ice-skating on the town’s ice rink and a lantern festival in anticipation of the birth of Jesus.