Kaunas celebrates its birthday with a three-day fiesta of festive events at Santaka
Paskelbta: 2023-05-11 (Thursday)
The city of Kaunas invites everyone to join the three-day festive event called Santaka to celebrate its 615th birthday on May 26-28, 2023. This grand city event offers a wide range of historical and cultural activities, performances by Lithuanian and foreign artists, and other engaging and attractive events.
Invites you to create a celebration together
“This year, Kaunas residents will have an exceptional birthday. I believe it will be as it should be – with surprises. Let’s not forget that this is a celebration for all of us, and that we all create it. The city has taken care of the programme of events, and it is important for the audience to remember to be in a good mood so that everyone can feel the real mood of the birthday party,” said Kaunas Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis.
The city greets the festive weekend (26-28 May) with the slogan: “Kaunas – the future of our past” where elements of the Middle Ages, ancient crafts, knight tournaments, and the legacy of Kaunas as the European Capital of Culture will be intertwined
Traditional initiatives are an integral part of the birthday: The celebration also includes traditional initiatives such as the “Kiemų šventė” (Yard Festival) on Laisvės alėja, the opportunity to sail on the Nemunas and Neris rivers with the “Let’s Celebrate the River!” initiative, and V. Putvinskio Street Day, which encourages participation in workshops, excursions, and other creative activities.
The three-day birthday marathon Santaka is organised not only by the city and cultural institutions but also through the efforts of communities, neighbours, and individual residents.
From history to innovation
The festivities will span from history to innovation, with Kaunas Castle transforming into a historical Hanseatic city with old artisans’ markets and workshops. Visitors can enjoy medieval music and learn dances from that era. The main attraction will be the knight tournaments, where fighters from all over Europe will demonstrate their swordsmanship both on foot and on horseback.
The focal point of the celebration will undoubtedly be Santaka Park. After dusk, impressive light installations will catch the eye, laser beams will illuminate the density of trees, and visitors will be invited to explore the magical grove. At the confluence of the Nemunas and Neris rivers, a 400-square-meter water screen with video projections will serve as an evening accent.
Another attraction awaits at the Old Harbor quay – a stunning dancing musical fountain show. Over fifty water fountains will be spread over a 100-metre area on the Nemunas. Illuminated from all sides by powerful floodlights, the fountains will “dance” to different genres of music.
Fun for the whole family
A cozy space called “Vaikystės pieva” (Children’s Meadow) will be set up on the Nemunas riverbank in Santakos Park.. It will feature picnics, games, music, dance, and children’s zones. A sauna zone will be open in the vicinity of Kaunas Castle, from Santaka to P. Vileišis Bridge.
The intersection of Vilniaus and M. Valančiaus streets will host the Tourism Street, where residents can familiarise themselves with the latest tourism trends, news, and attractions of the upcoming tourist season. They can also interact with employees from various tourism information centers and learn about the city’s image innovations.
In the Old Town, a traditional fair will add to the bustling atmosphere. On the stalls, there will be food products, authentic and traditional artisanal goods. Traders who have the Lithuanian Cultural Heritage label and want to be part of the birthday buzz are invited to register at bit.ly/gimtadienio-muge.
The city will be filled with music.
Over three days, Kaunas will resonate with the sounds of more than ten performances, catering to music lovers of all ages and tastes. At Santaka Park, on the main music stage, popular Lithuanian and international artists and bands will perform songs, musical improvisations, and DJs will create rhythms.
GJan, Jessica Shy, Linas Adomaitis with Kaunas Big Band, Garbanotas group, Kamanių šilelis, Baltasis kiras, and others will create a festive atmosphere.
Kaunas will be greeted with a project called “Someone Like You – The ADELE Songbook” from the UK, and the positive trio 3Live Project”from neighboring Latvia.
Kaunas native and electronic music luminary Ten Walls will perform in a duet with Swedish vocalist Jonatan Bäckelie at his hometown celebration.
The true culmination of the party will be Norwegian Tungevaag, currently ranked in the top 100 DJs in the world.
A detailed programme of the upcoming events for the celebration will be announced soon through official channels of Kaunas City Municipality.