City street festivals
Moscow, the capital of Russia, is the most populated city in Europe. Over 12.5 million people live here, and about 22 million tourists come every year to see a city where history is being made. In 2018, Moscow received the prestigious international award in the sphere of festival organization. The International Festival and Event Association (IFEA) ranked the Russian capital as one of the best cities in the world for festivals and public events.
City festivals for every season of the year have already become a trademark of Moscow. Fairs, cultural programs, and street decorations are the foundation of all festivals, while festival staples include seasonal products and hand-made items. Street decorations change from one year to the next. Capital Ideas has put together an overview of the most interesting and public festivals that will take place in Moscow before the end of the year.
Golden Autumn / Autumn food festival
The biggest fall food festival organized by the “Moscow Seasons” government project will take place in October in the city center. Guests will be treated to a selection of the best products from all over Russia, dishes from a special fall menu, attend lectures and tours to learn about the history of Russian food culture and traditions, take part in culinary, creative, and athletic events, and go to plays and concerts.
The main focal point of Golden Autumn is, of course, the fair: 40,000 kilograms of fish, 35,000 kg of cheese, 8,500 local delicacies, over 8,000 liters of drinks, and more than 800 cooking workshops where you can learn how to put it all together. Last year, 6.5 million guests attended the festival.
Farmers from different regions in the country will bring their cheese, milk, butter, ryazhenka, and other products to the fair. The fish market will feature red mullet, Black Sea horse mackerel, Siberian sturgeon, Karelian trout, caviar, rapana meat, scallops, canned fish, and processed products. There will also be fresh fish soup, grilled seafood, chebureki with tuna, and other unusual dishes from the seasonal menu.
Guests will be able to learn more about products at the fair during lectures, tours, and culinary workshops. For example, last year workshops on cooking goose soup and baking with classic Russian recipes were the most popular.
Various pop, folk, and jazz performers will provide musical entertainment for the festival. There will be a total of about 200 performances, from small plays to major concerts and choreographed shows.
Tbilisoba in Moscow / Festival of Georgian culture
On October 5, the Hermitage Garden (Karetny Ryad 3) will host the annual festival “Tbilisoba in Moscow 2019,” dedicated to Georgian culture, cuisine, history, and traditions. Guests can expect to be treated to an elaborate festival program filled with the atmosphere of the warm and welcoming Georgia.
A food court with dishes from some of the best Georgian chefs will be the festival’s main platform. Georgian cuisine is one of the most delicious cuisines in the world. Guest will get a chance to try real kharcho, satsivi, lobio, khachapuri, chakhokhbili, chakopuli, and much more.
Georgia is famous for its wine, so the festival will feature tastings of some of the best wines. The festival’s concert program will feature traditional Georgian performances, and there will also be a fair with Georgian souvenirs and hand-made items for the home.
MamaClubFest 2019 / The largest family festival
On October 12 and 13, Moscow’s Danilovsky Event Hall (Dubininskaya Ulitsa 71, bldg.5) will host the city’s biggest family festival. Mama.Club brings together over 3 million people via social networks and organizes the largest family festivals in the city. This season, guests can expect a real tour of the whole world, filled with adventures and unforgettable experiences for active moms, dads, and their kids, as well as expecting parents. In two days, festival guests will cross all seas and continents, travel to the equator, and meet new heros.
The festival introduces guests to the best projects for children, presents new maternity trends, and puts on an unforgettable holiday for the entire family. The venue will host an extensive entertainment program for children – shows and theatre performances, games and workshops, interactive zones, and sensory gardens. While the kids entertain themselves, parents can attend lectures by famous speakers, check out the exhibition of brands and the market area, listen to a lecture at a school for expecting mothers, visit the beatya area, and grab a bite to eat at the food court.
MamaClubFest is the ontl family festival in Russia that originated as an online community on Instagram and then decided to hold a meet-up in real life.
Unity Day / City street festival
On November 2-4, Moscow will host the annual Unity Day festival, which is part of the “Moscow Seasons” government project. Muscovites and tourists will learn about the customs and traditions of the peoples of Russia, see performances, take part in immersive plays and workshops and, of course, try their hand at cooking national dishes. Unity Day is a new holiday that is celebrated with a lot of elaborate festivities. The goal is to bring together Russian people regardless of their social status, ethnicity, or religion. On this day, people all over the country remember the historical event this holiday commemorates and hold events to celebrate. Political parties hold meetings and parades. The city’s squares host crafts fairs, entertainment programs for children and adults, and exhibitions. Free refreshments and snacks are available during celebrations.
In the evenings, the city holds concerts with performances by pop stars, dance troupes, and music collectives. The Red Square in Moscow is the main venue for celebrations. The events kick off with a festive procession around the city and end with the laying of bouquets at the memorials to Minin and Pozharsky.
Last year, the festival was visited by 1.9 million people, hosting 150 performances and 609 workshops. 11 tons of cheese, 3.5 tons of fish, and 600 kg of meat products were sold.
Viva Espana! 2019 / Flamenco festival
On November 19-20, the “Russian Song” Theatre (Olimpiyskiy Prospekt 14) will host the Viva Espana! 2019 festival. On November 19, guests will have the opportunity to see Rubén Olmo’s play “Horas Contigo.” Rubén Olmo isn’t only a famous dancer, but is also the director of the Spanish National Dance Company and recipient of the Spanish National Dance Award. He will present the audience with a personal play that everybody will interpret differently. The only thing we know for sure is that it will be a spectacularly beautiful, sensual, and professional production, which was the recipient of a special award at the Festival of Jerez this year. The performance will start at 8.00 pm.
On November 20, the flamenco festival will show Rocío Molina’s “Caída del Cielo.” Rocío is a Spanish dancer with a plethora of awards under her belt: the Spanish National Dance Award, a gold medal from the province of Malaga, the British Dance Award, and even a film by French filmmakers that she directed herself. Molina will be bringing a show about herself and women in general to Russia. All of this will be conveyed to the guests through flamenco, which the dancer has masterfully seasoned with modern dance styles. The performance will start at 8.00 pm.
Frenchbazar / French Christmas market
On November 23-35, Moscow will host a French market – a place where adults can relive their childhood and children can spend time in a French fairy tale. The market will be held at the Provision Warehouses courtyard, inside the Moscow Museum premises (Zubovskiy Bul’var 2, pavilion 2). Guests can expect a real holiday with an extensive cultural and education program. The French Christmas market in Moscow is a great opportunity to get to know the diversity of France, its people and the cultural influences the country has absorbed throughout its centuries-long history. Here, you can enjoy the unique Christmas atmosphere, try French cheeses and pates, traditional croissants, waffles, pancakes, mulled wine, and fragrant cocoa. Fashion-savvy women will get a chance to browse a wide selection of French designer accessories.
The oyster bar is an absolute must for everyone. Aside from everything else, the market will have presents for the New Year: original souvenirs and French books. The program also includes a series of degustations, like wine and champagne tastings. Guests will have a chance to purchase traditional French products and works by artists inspired by their love of France. Moreover, the bazar will feature exhibitions by French photographers and French music concerts in the evenings. There will also be Breton dance performances and a chance to sing karaoke in French.
Food Show / 13th food festival
The festival will take place on November 30 – December 1, inside one of the pavilions at the Sokolniki Exhibition and Convention Centre, and the platforms will be open from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm. The first festival like this took place in Moscow all the way back in 2006. This event was planned as an exhibition of delicious and high-quality products for the wider public. Over the course of two days, the Sokolniki pavilion will house the biggest culinary pop-up studio in Europe. Here, 10 chefs will guide guests while they cook 10 original dishes. Moreover, the Food Show Awards for the best media projects about food and culinary arts will take place as part of the festival. Guests can expect quests, games, lectures, contests with prizes, and excellent music. And, of course, the food show wouldn’t be complete without a market where people can try and purchase fresh products, along with kitchen utensils and dishware. The festival will have a Children’s Culinary School, where culinary experts will teach kids how to make beautiful and healthy dishes.
A Journey into Christmas / City street festival
The most anticipated event of the “Moscow Seasons” project will take place on December 13, 2019 – January 12, 2020. For a whole month, Moscow will be celebrating the New Year and Christmas across various platforms throughout the city center, parks, and districts. The program includes plays and concerts, workshops and athletic events, sledding and ice-skating, and of course the chance to try the most delicious Christmas treats and pick out unusual souvenirs for your loved ones. The festival’s guests can try the best Christmas treats from different corners of Russia and Europe, enjoy works by internationally renowned light artists, and see open-air street theatre performances. Plays, ice shows, workshops, winter games, and incredible light installations will help create a magical holiday atmosphere.
Tverskaya Street will be the epicenter of festival events. The “Journey into Christmas” festival will give city residents the opportunity to enjoy the holidays to the fullest, from Triumfalnaya Square to Lubyanka, inside nine Moscow parks, and along the Garden Ring. Events from everybody’s favorite Russian and foreign fairy tales will unfold along Moscow’s main streets – they’ll house decorated Christmas trees, and dynamically lit compositions, and light installations.
As part of the “Journey into Christmas” festival, 74 holiday venues will open in the center of the capital, along the Garden Ring, in Moscow parks, and all city districts. Over 500 Christmas trees will decorate the streets. The main New Year events will be held at the Red Square, on Tverskoy Boulevard, at Novopushkinsky Square, on Tverskaya Street, at the Revolution Square, Manezhnaya and Tverskaya Squares, New Arbat, and Kamergersky and Klimentovsky Lanes. As usual, the Red Square will house the GUM skating rink and a Christmas Market, where guests can buy souvenirs and grab a snack. You can watch the colorful fireworks of the festival from 38 venues, as well as from 19 Moscow parks.
Last year, the festival was visited by 18.6 million people. 79 ballets on ice, 8,175 workshops, and 2,290 plays and concerts were held.
VDNKh Christmas fair 2019-2020
The fair will be held from mid-December 2019 to mid-January of 2020 across two venues of the country’s main exhibition space – the Industry Square behind the Agriculture Pavilion No.58 and at the square next to the Moskvarium. The fair’s hours will be from 11.00 am to 11.00 pm on weekdays, 10.00 am to 11.00 pm on weekends, and until 3.00 am for New Year’s. The fair will feature a wide selection of holiday gifts and souvenirs – snowflakes and stars carved from wood, all kinds of Christmas toys, colorful tree decorations, candles, dishes, painted gingerbread cookies, candy, knitted mittens, cozy sweaters, and hats with deer. Visitors will have chance to try Hong Kong waffles and pies, traditional Aremnian cuisine, dishes prepared on the grill, Greek gyros, and French baked goods. There will also be plenty of Vologda sweets, game delicacies, gingerbread cookies, tea, and honey to take home with you. A big Christmas tree, carousel, and a concert stage featuring performances of holiday songs will help visitors get into the holiday spirit.