Scan Magazine, Issue 123, April 2019

Page 107

Scan Magazine  |  Åland Special   |  Åland Grönskar and Sjökvarteret

A festival for spring The first blooms of spring are around the corner, and for the third year in a row, Åland Spring Fair celebrates the season of brighter and warmer days with local festivities in the island’s countryside. By Hanna Stjernström  |  Photos: Skördefestens Vänner

The last weekend in May is the first weekend for the seasonal asparagus and the peak of apple blossom. On 25 to 26 May, Åland invites visitors to experience activities where locally produced food and crafts are in focus. With 34 participating restaurants and cafés, farms and producers, the island welcomes visitors to enjoy the spring’s primeurs. Having started in 2017, the spring fair continues to flourish. “A new addition this year is the asparagus tour, where seven restaurants each serve a sample of an asparagus-based dish,” says Anita Lundin, project manager at Åland Grönskar. Despite the fair being relatively young, the concept is not new. The Harvest Festival takes place during the autumn, celebrat-

ing the season’s harvest. Hence, the idea of a spring fair grew and became like a little sister. Today, all seeds planted in the spring are harvested during the Harvest Festival. Returning from last year is the Ålandic championships, where locals compete in

Åland Spring Fair: 25-26 May Åland Harvest Festival: 20-22 Sep


A tribute to tradition Even after 25 years, Sjökvarteret in Mariehamn still continues to flourish today. With summer approaching, the area invites visitors to events that celebrate the Ålandic marine history and the craftsmanship that built its traditions. In 1988, the ship Albanus was launched into the bay of Slemmern during the Tall Ships Race, after being constructed in Mariehamn’s eastern port. The ship was built with Ålandic wood and used local knowledge to replicate a ship from 1904 by the same name. Six years later, Sjökvarteret was created in the same port, with the purpose of honouring the local heritage. “We want to recognise the culture of boat building in a prosperous area built upon the marine traditions on Åland,” says Janna Johansson, CEO of Sjökvarteret. Sjökvarteret has come a long way since its founding in 1994. In addition to guided tours and a museum dedicated to the history of boat building, the area has seen the opening of two shops and a restaurant that focus on local ingredients. The latest initiative is the EU project SEASTOP, which

creating the best burger from local raw ingredients. Filled with local activities and experiences, the two-day event offers something for visitors of all ages. “We want to capture the feeling of Åland during the spring and invite people to celebrate with us,” concludes Lundin.

will work on expanding the port’s berths and surroundings to increase availability to visitors. The marine tradition stands in the centre as one of Åland’s biggest events, Åland Sea Days, takes place at Sjökvarteret on 17 to 21 July, turning the area into a meeting point for over 20,000 visitors. The five-day event celebrates the marine culture of traditional ships, craftsmen and musicians, and is now an annual festival. “Our

The area has a small marina for wooden boats. Photo: Visit Åland

By Hanna Stjernström

vision is to preserve Ålandic culture, while at the same time continuously developing Sjökvarteret towards a sustainable future,” Johansson concludes. Sjökvarteret offers berths for visiting guests. Photo: Sjökvarteret


Issue 123  |  April 2019  |  107

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