SOČA VALLEY –
A series of events entitled “The Soča Stories” focus on the same topic: a historical account of events from World War I. The series examines one of the most overlooked areas of intangible heritage, the question of historical awareness. The topic combines different interesting accounts of turbulent events, from personal memories of a soldier fighting on the front line to interactive presentations of life during a time that is fading in our memories but that, thanks to material testimonials, nevertheless creates a perfect setting for the presentation of the history of the Soča Valley.
Despite having a long tradition, this theme festival was developed in line with a reinvented concept dating from 2004. This concept combines four themes which rank this event above all other, more or less “merrymaking” festivals in Slovenia: professional (bobbin lace workshops, exhibitions, international contacts), competition (important for the preservation of inherited knowledge), tourism (integration of theme trails, learning about traditional habits and customs) and culture & entertainment. The festival virtually dictates the guidelines for developing offerings in different areas, from sales of souvenirs/arts and crafts to gastronomy. The festival involves the entire local community, from the museum and dedicated societies to the municipality.
This event is a fine example of the tourist and cultural revival of the old town centre of Kranj, based on the town fair heritage. What is most fascinating about this event is that the town fair is set in the authentic period of the first half of the 19th century, in the time of poet France Prešeren. This is a huge challenge that requires flawless technical and professional support, because otherwise the event would quickly become just one in a series of mediocre events, just like the different medieval and other thematic fairs or tournaments from the organiser’s past track record. By employing professional technical support and by faithfully adhering to the given time period, the organisers present numerous integral parts of the intangible cultural heritage in its authentic environment, that is, in the old town centre of Kranj. This event has the potential to become an important annual event and an example of a quality old town centre revival.