Cherry and Chestnut Festivals

In the last four years the Municipality of Agiassos in collaboration and with the support of various local authorities and big companies of Lesvos , organizes the Festival of Chestnut Day which has become an autumn must for the whole island always celebrated with great success. Since 2007 the Municipality has been organizing the Festival of Cherry Day as well.

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These festivals have been an effort to revive traditional events which were part of the socioeconomic life connected with the local production of chestnuts and cherries. Due to the organizers’ optimism, boldness and broad-mindedness these celebrations have become very successful. Moreover, it gave producers the chance to sell their products in the actual place chestnuts and cherries are picked (Agiassos) and where consumers gather in masses to purchase them. At the same time, other commercial stores profit from these celebrations as well. The shops that interest people mostly are those which sell objects of local folk art (pottery, wood curved furniture, hand woven material) and traditional products (cheese, herbs etc) as well as coffee shops, restaurants, cafes and bakeries with traditional pastries, cookies and bread.

In order for the Celebrations to be successful the Municipality of Agiassos collaborates with the Anagnostirio and the Women’s Cooperative of Agiassos, ETAL, the Prefecture of Lesvos, the Centre of Environmental Education of Asomatos-Evergetoulas Lesvos, the Honey making Cooperative of Lesvos, Methymnaios Wines, the Agricultural Cooperative of Limnos, the Greek Corps of Scouts and the Tourist Agencies of Lesvos all having mutual interests.
Several events take place during those festivals. There is live music and traditional folk dances, free distribution of chestnuts, cherries and chestnuts in syrup, cakes, truffles, chestnut bread, honey from the chestnut forest etc. There are lectures, projections and exhibitions of tools and means of collecting chestnuts and carvings on chestnut wood. Visitors can go trekking in the chestnut forest through the beautiful cobble paved paths. Thus, they are given the chance to become accustomed to the beautiful environment and the rich flora and fauna of Mount Olympus, which is assessed in the Network of Protected Areas “Natura 2000” including many rare species protected by the Greek and European legislation.

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This in turn brings the development of an alternative and nature loving tourism, a complementary source of income for the locals, since it is currently based on religious pilgrimages and is seasonal. Our wish and hope is that the increasing number of visitors will lead to the increase of the inhabitants’ agro tourist income and thus become a motive for the development of additional investing activities.