Fistiki Fest – A Celebration of the Aegina Pistachio
The Fistiki Fest is Aegina's major modern-day festival. When you have a Protected Designation of Origin product with a unique flavour and quality that is known the world over, it seems natural to want to celebrate its harvest with locals and visitors alike.
And so, on the second weekend in September, once the pistachios have been gathered and roasted (either with salt and lemon, or unsalted for the health-conscious); once they have been made into pistachio nougat, spoon sweets, pastry with syrup and any other specialty Aeginetan cooks have devised for this tasty nut, the grand celebration begins. It lasts four days and is so packed with events and happenings, you won't know what to do first. Booths are set up along the waterfront featuring homemade foods and crafts, jewellery, lace and small gifts items for you and your loved ones, form an outdoor market with the picturesque fishing caiques in the background. The commercial apsect of the festival is only a part of this great event.
Aegina gets an opportunity to display all of its wealth and power, its history, its beauty and above all, its culture. Dozens of events, from piano and violin recitals around the Temple of Aphaia, lectures on environmental issues and ceramics exhibitions at the Kolona archaeological museum, to concerts put on by young people and choral and theatrical performances, the entire island, including Perkida, Souvala and Agia Marina, come alive to host this exciting happening. For children, there are creative activities every day - drawing, crafts, dramatic workshops and even cooking and baking lessons. History lovers can take a tour of the Kapodistrian buildings or medieval Paleochora with the 365 churches; and gourmands can try original dishes in the gastronomy competition. There is something for everyone in this whirlwind of laughter and joy, singing and dancing.
One of the Fistiki Fest's highlights is the Artists' Route (more than 100 artists take part each year to display their work in unconventional spaces like bars or grocery shops, in the fish market and coffee shops, so that a stroll through the town feels like a visit to an art gallery). The huge parade that kicks off the event is meticulously planned with inspired imagination, and features stilt walkers, swarms of children and adults, and improvised floats rolling down the waterfront to reenact highlights of the pistachio's history on the island.