Footie, fireworks and furlongs: Velka Pardubice weekend

Last weekend was a particularly eventful one in Pardubice with arguably the biggest event of the calender, the Velka Pardubice taking place. I missed it last year so really wanted to go this year to see what all the fuss is about. The night before was the traditional lantern festival and fireworks display as part of the 15th annual Pardubice town festival which had been running for the past week, with various events in the old square and around town.

Before that though we went to see my friend from work play a football match in Rosice nad Labem. It was a good game with a much better result than the previous game we went to watch (don’t worry Jenya I won’t mention the score of that one here). I skated down on my longboard with another friend from work which was nice and chilled. Speaking of chilled, that pretty perfectly describes what it’s like going to a local sports game, it’s a grand day out with friends, having a beer and watching the game. The same people will be at every game, sitting in the same spot and it’s a really nice family atmosphere.

The raffle drum was a pain to get moving.
Agony and Ecstasy, following another goal for the home team.
My colleague celebrates scoring a goal to wrap up the convincing 4-0 victory.
The next generation practicing on the pitch after the game.
This guy looks like he could tell some great stories.
The home goalkeeper on the phone to (I guess) his wife after she gave birth earlier the same day! As Bill Shankly said “Football’s not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that”…….

Later that evening we made our way down to the square to get a bit of food before the fireworks display and totally forgot the lantern festival was on the same night, duuuuhhhhh! By the time we got down to the square and copped on it was too late and the procession of monks wielding flaming torches had already set off, followed by families carrying Chinese style lanterns.

This is a photo from last year when we made it on time to catch the procession of monks. Pretty creepy right?
Am I a maaaaaaaaaaaaan? Or aaaaam I mullllllet? Aaaaaam I a mullet? Mullet of a man ­čśÇ
A cool projection on the square as part of the lantern festival.
Mmmm sva┼Ö├ík, nothing better on a cold Winter’s evening, which it wasn’t that night but still nice all the same.
The Lángos Man hard at work feeding the crowd. Loved his fake blood stained apron.
The guy at the sound booth for the concert had a little friend for company.
Best seat in the house, on dad’s shoulders for the fireworks show.
The impressive projection show on the river in front of the fireworks display was something I’ve never seen before, it was quite beautiful.

The following day it was time for the Velka Pardubice, and it was a really nice day out with the sun pouring down on a really large crowd and plenty of winners on the day. I bumped into a few colleagues from work and spent the afternoon chatting with them as well as random old dudes who were perplexed by these people speaking English. One of them was a character and a half speaking to us in Czech and using gestures to communicate, all in good fun and friendliness. I’m not a betting man so I didn’t make any wagers on the races but I believe the winner of the main event was a sure thing so I don’t think the bookies lost too much on the day. I didn’t take half as many photos as I would have liked so for a better idea of what this event is like check out this post from last year on one of the smaller events on the calender.

“Please don’t fall, please don’t fall, please don’t fall”
Binoculars were a must for those watching as the horses are often far off in the distance during the races.

_MG_0709It was a great weekend with friends and colleagues and yet another weekend in Pardubice where you’d be hard pressed to have nothing to do or see. It really is a great place to live and there’s almost always something happening to keep you entertained, whether it’s a big advertised national sporting occasion or a small local football game.


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