Event famous for honey and Kurpie
It constitutes the only such national event related to beekeeping. Yet the name should not mislead those who have nothing in common with apiculture. „Miodobranie Kurpiowskie“ is a commercial, entertainment and promotional event at the same time. It is definitely the greatest such event in the Kurpie region, extending beyond its regional scope and attracting visitors from other regions. Honey Harvest is held every year on the last Sunday of August in Myszyniec municipality by Regionalne Centrum Kultury Kurpiowskiej. Since 2014 it has been held in Wykrot, at the very heart of Kurpie, within the hospitable area of vacation and recreation centre called Kurpiowska Kraina. It has developed its own fixed scenario.
Honey Harvest is a two-day event, Saturday being almost completely devoted to entertainment. The second day starts with a mass in Minor Basilica in Myszyniec, with a sermon delivered partly in Kurpie dialect. It is followed by the part devoted to art and fair. A ceremonial procession goes in carts from Myszyniec to Wykrot, where performances on stage begin. Kurpie folk ensembles perform during the whole event of Honey Harvest with a ritual show „Beekeeping Customs in Kurpie” („Zwyczaje bartnicze na Kurpiach”) performed yearly.
The area on which the event takes place is well organized. There are marked parking lots, toilet zone, and finally the huge area for the fair. For the sake of organization it has been divided into sectors: folk artists avenue, honeymerchants avenue, cooking avenue. Another part is occupied by the stage with the area for the spectators and the agricultiral advisory zone.
Due to the fact that honey is the leitmotiv of the event, in the honey avenue you can meet many beekeepers not only from Kurpie, but also from the neighbouring Podlasie and Warmia and Mazury. Apart from probably all types of honey available in Poland the bee breeders also offer propolis (pierzga), bee pollen, articles of wax and honey liqueurs (nalewki na miodzie). You can taste each honey before purchase and talk to the beekeepers about its properties.
The folk artists avenue displays the works of mostly Kurpie artists: sculptors, paper cutting-makers, lace-makers, embroiderers, tissue paper flower makers, braid-makers. You can buy table cloths and napkins, woolen shawls, flowers, paper cut-outs, sacral and secular sculpture, baskets woven from pine root or wicker, but also lace jewellery, or unique individual works, such as e.g. paper swans. The selection is wide and the work of each folk artist is marked with his individual style.
The cooking avenue offers Kurpie delicacies, prepared by local women, delicacies grown on agritourism farms or from local food manufacturers. You can buy cold meat, cheese, cakes, bread, fafernuchy (cookies), nalewki (liqueurs), jarred foods and psiwo kozicowe. Thes products are characterised by extremely high quality, pleasing both the eye and the palate at the same time.
Among the accompanying events tere are also fun fair, agricultural techniques fair, agritourism farm display, shooting and fishing contest, exhibition of beekeeping equipment, arts and crafts exhibition, demonstration and workshops in different crafts.
Honey Harvest is also accompanied by many contests, e.g. the contest of „Kurpie village handicraft’ („Rękodzieło Wsi Kurpiowskiej”), organized by RCKK and Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Myszyńca. The folk artists compete in various categories, such as: paper cut-outs, braiding, amber crafting, ritual cake, kierce (decorations), flowers (Kurpie-style bouquet), pottery, sculpture, weaving, embroidery, lace and smithery. Among other competitions we can find, e.g. shepherd’s pipe (ligawka) competition, pie competition, nalewka competition, plum spread competition, psiwo kozicowe competition and even climbing wild beehive competition. Since 2015 the event has gained two more contests – Honey Harvest Open Tennis Tournament and Honey Harvest Football Tournament. As part of the fixed schedule, following Honey Harvest, there is also a competition for a regional product whose at east one ingredient is natural honey.
For the last 40 years the Honey Harvest has grown from a small local event taking place on the school sports field into a mass supralocal event. It has become a review of a variety of Kurpiowszczyzna (White Wilderness) products and the place where local firms are presented. It reminds the inhabitants of the Green Wilderness (Puszcza Zielona) their rich tradition and beekeeping customs. At the same time it gives the contemporary folk artists the opportunity to present their works, while integrating local community and promoting the region among more and more numerous Polish and foreign visitors coming to the Honey Harvest feast.