The Idrija Lace Festival
The Idrija Lace Festival takes place annually the third weekend in June and is intended for locals as well as domestic and foreign tourists.
In the scope of the Festival, which is in 2011 celebrating 30 years of its existence, numerous domestic and foreign exhibitions of lace were put on display. The Festival, which continues to gain in its visitors, also included a national competition in lace-making for children as well as adults, numerous lace-making workshops and a fashion show which was based on the products of the Idrija lace. Lace has a special place in Idrija’s culture and is in strong correlation with the activity of mining, as presumably the knowledge of lace-making was brought to Idrija by the wives of miners and mining experts who came to Idrija from Germany and the Czech republic. The main goal of the Festival is to preserve, promote and evolve the art of lace-making and Idrija lace, which is a highly renowned and valued trademark at home as well as abroad. In 2000 the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) recognized the Idrija lace as an intellectual property and protected it with geographic markings. Details about the Festival are available at:
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The Festival’s beginnings date back to 1953, when Idrija hosted the first Lace Festival. The Festival took place on and off till 1966, while the interest for the Festival was lost after that year. But with the 40th anniversary of the work organisation Čipka Idrija and the 110th anniversary of the Lace school of Idrija (Čipkarska šola Idrija) in 1986 the idea of reviving the Idrija Lace Festival was once again brought to life. An additional reason for the Festival’s revival was also the idea of the Idrija Lace school, which has continued to function, as the only lace school in the world, right from the start of its opening, becoming the world centre of lace making.
- for ICRA: work and income (the income should cover the costs of the Festival), additional knowledge, inclusion in tourism offers and cultural heritage (the Festival is one of the 4 key factors of the development of Idrija lace), acquisition of contacts, cooperation, etc.;
- for locals: events, exhibitions, etc.
- for inn-keepers and pub-owners: Festival work (3 pub-owners/inn-keepers), greater number of visitors in time of the Festival, bigger recognition;
- providers of over-night accommodations: rise in number of visitors, greater recognition of Idrija (concentrated promotion in time of the Festival as well as regarding other presentations).
- tourism: the rise in number of tourist buses during the Festival, especially on Saturdays and Sundays;
- for tourists: exhibitions, events;
- for the suppliers (tradesmen with lace-making patterns (“papirci”), lace, lace-making equipment, other): the fair (stands) is extremely well visited, as mainly the demand for lace-making equipment and other products of local craftsmanship is high;
- for providers of tourist services (City Museum, Aquarium, the exhibition-mine Antonijev rov, War Museum): rise in number of visitors, more promotion efforts in the time before the Festival;
- for the Lace-making school: probably an additional income source (for the organisation of the competition, for the exhibition, etc.)
- for the Society of lace-makers (Društvo klekljaric): presentation and acquiring contacts from visitors and other societies;
- for the Municipality: the biggest cultural-ethnological event in the Municipality, the promotion of the Municipality.
WHY is the best practice considered as good
- A well coordinated and organized event, which connects various factors included in the development of Idrija lace.
- The contribution to the development, promotion and other positive financial effects (Idrija lace, the entire tourism offer of the Municipality of Idrija).
- The stimulation for the establishment of the society of Slovene lace-makers and all those who are interested in lace-making (collaboration at home and abroad).
- The collaboration with the philatelic society, which prepared special stamps and stamps just for this occasion, all dedicated to the town of Idrija and the Idrija lace (promotion).
- The Idrija Lace school gains in recognition at home and across Europe
WHAT are the measurable results
- The rise in number of daily tourists – the Festival Idrija has 2000 to 3000 visitors each year (exact numbers are not available, as there are no parking and entrance tolls).
- Up to five times higher numbers of visitors to exhibitions, the City Museum of Idrija and to the exhibition-mine Antonijev rov.
- The increase in sales of lace (exact data was not given by the shop-keepers).
- Usually fully booked hotels for over-night stays (normally the hotels are half booked over the summer, while in the winter the bookings are only minimal).
- Generally speaking summer months see more visitors due to increased promotion.
New opportunities created on the local level
On the local level
- Innovative use of hand-made Idrija lace in high fashion (clothes, accessories, shoes).
- Opportunities of forming lace-making patterns.
- Encouragement of the representation of other hand crafts.
- Offer of other local products at the fair stands.
On the international level
- Idrija was the initiator for organizing the world congress OIDFA 2016 (The International Bobbin and Needle Lace Organisation) which will be held in Ljubljana.
€77000 - €92000 yearly:
the entertainment part of the event, the opening ceremony, business events, the Festival’s promotion, online costs, utility services, post service, telephone, accounting costs, work and similar additional costs.
Possibility of tansferring the best practice
An Organisational Committee, which should define the goals, the intent and all the factors of the Festival as well as find the needed minimal finances for the realisation of the Festival, should be established.
The activity can easily be transferred to other territories.