Article in the Cyprus Mail about the festival:Flowing beer to promote tourism and culture capital bid
By Alexis Pantelides Published on September 20, 2011
THE FIRST Nicosia Beer Fun Festival, aptly dubbed ‘Septemberfest’, kicks off tomorrow in what Nicosia Municipality hopes will be an annual event to boost tourism in the capital and help it secure the coveted title, European Capital of Culture in 2017.
“We hope the festival will be a great success and will become a permanent fixture of Nicosia’s cultural life,” Nicosia Mayor Eleni Mavrou told a press conference yesterday, adding that the annual Munich Oktoberfest was the inspiration behind the idea.
The festival is only one of the municipality’s many initiatives to help Nicosia’s bid to secure the 2017 European Capital of Culture.
“Cyprus’ tourism is based on the idea of sunshine and the seaside, and since Nicosia lacks the latter, it was important for us to stress its cultural and cosmopolitan aspect,” said Mavrou.
Six beer importing and producing companies will headline the festival, while customers will have the opportunity to choose from up to 49 different brands. Cyprus will be represented by its three local producing companies: KEO, Carlsberg and Leon, while 20 kiosks will be set up, with local pubs also participating.
Savvas Nicolaou, the managing director of the group of companies Display Art, which is credited with the idea of the festival, highlighted the involvement of the local pubs.
“By providing kiosks for different Nicosia pubs, we hope that in the following years, the Septemberfest will be held throughout the city and thus in the long run, help the economy and create a long-running tradition,” he said.
A restaurant, run by the Cyprus Hotel Association, will also operate, where local delicacies as well as German Frankfurter sausages will be sold. A total of 200 people will be employed, while 60 artists and performers will perform throughout the week. A funfair to run alongside the festival has already been set up.
“We have made a genuine attempt to get as many Cypriot organisations involved as possible,” said Nicolaou.
With the adult entrance fee at five euros plus first drink free, and free entrance for children, the promoters have done their best to keep prices down.
“We are aware of the economic crisis,” said Nicolaou. “We have tried to keep prices as low as possible.”
President of the Nicosia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Christodoulos Agkastiniotis – one of the organisers of the festival - stressed the festival’s potential benefits on tourism. “Nicosia only enjoys a minimal share of the island’s tourism,” he said. “This festival is in line with our policy of projecting Nicosia’s cultural character in order to increase that share.”
Nicosia is competing with Paphos and Limassol for the 2017 European Capital of Culture. Asked if the beer festival was designed to rival the annual September wine festival in Limassol, Agkastiniotis was adamant that this was not the case.
“I don’t feel that there is any real competition, and if there is, it is a healthy one. The wine festival is an institution in itself, a crucial element of Cypriot tradition that is as old as the Republic itself.” He went on to explain that different dates had been chosen to avoid any clash.
The Septemberfest starts Wednesday September 21, at 19:00 and will be attended by the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism Praxoulla Antoniadou. The festival runs until September 25 and takes place in the moat of the city walls at the Costanza Bastion.