The LegendFest festival was launched in 2005 by Ivor Zidarić, the president of the Association Val kulture (Wave of Culture), in Pićan, the small town of his ancestors located in Istra region. The mission of the association was to provide an innovative festival which will connect culture, locals and tourists.
The aim of this mystical festival is to introduce domestic and foreign visitors with a wealth of Croatian tangible and intangible heritage. Presented on attractive fairy tale like locations, LegendFest offers a unique experience in which numerous characters from legends and myths (witches, fairies, dragons, giants, krsniks*, vampires, etc.) come to life.
* A Krsnik or Kresnik is a type of vampire hunter, a shaman whose spirit wanders from the body in the form of an animal. The krsnik turns into an animal at night to fight off the kudlak, his evil vampire antithesis, with the krsnik appearing as a white animal and the kudlak as a black one. The krsnik ‘s soul leaves the body, either voluntarily or due to a higher power, to fight evil agents and ensure good harvest, health, and happiness.
This family festival offers various forms of entertainment such as concerts, lectures, theater performances, exhibitions and workshops, variety of performances and video presentations / screenings at several locations within the festival venue. Through such interactive events, the visitors learn about the myths, legends and fun historical details of a particular place. Participants are famous local artists, theater companies, recognized ethnologists, historians, illustrators and others. In addition, visitors are offered delicious food, drinks and souvenirs at the so-called LegendFair which is well known for its homemade and locally sourced produce.
In the last two years there were more than 15,000 visitors at the LegendFest. In addition, the creation of the accompanying festival materials and events such as printed books, TV shows, traveling exhibitions LegendExpo and project LegendArt, also speak of the enormous success of the festival. The festival has provided means for excellent collaboration between the local community, residents and institutions in the host cities. Museums, tourist offices, media organizations and various private companies have all provided great assistance in organizing the festival. The festival highly contributes to the local community by creating a recognisability of location in which the festival is held. Thus, Pićan, where the festival originally started, became a recognizable town in Croatia thanks to LegendFest.
In order to promote the Croatian tangible and intangible culture in other parts of Croatia, in 2014 the festival expanded into continental Croatia, the Zagreb County, in the old town of Lukavec near Zagreb. In 2016, the festival also began to expand into Šibenik-Knin County and will be held in the beautiful Krka National Park.
LegendFest undoubtedly continues to bring abundance of Croatian tangible and intangible culture into focus, and in such a way, greatly contributes to its cultural preservation for many generations to come.