Every February, Lithuanians gather in Palanga–a small coastal town about 30km north of Klaipėda–for the annual Palanga Fish Festival (Palangos Stinta). The majority of our spring cohort made the journey with some of the program interns to check out the festivities last weekend. It was a fun opportunity to get acquainted with the fishing traditions, history, and culinary heritage of Lithuania’s coastal region!
Th festival is home to arts and crafts vendors as well as smelt vendors of all kinds. We walked up and down the Basanavičius Street promenade, where we were overwhelmed with the amount of fried, dried, pickled or smoked smelts at each booth! It was incredible to see all of the different ways fish could be cooked and prepared by the locals. There were also vendors lining both sides of the street selling Lithuanian souvenirs, so of course we took advantage of that as well and purchased some goodies for loved ones back home (or ourselves)! Some of us were brave enough to sample some of the food–there was everything, from fish in all forms, chowder, potato pancakes, and everything in between. Our favorite thing, BY FAR, are waffles dipped in either chocolate or caramel and covered in some sort of sprinkling of sugar, coconut, you name it. It’s a classic ‘fair food’ that we have found (and savored) on multiple occasions during our stay here thus far! 🙂
Even if you don’t like fish, like most of us, this festival is a fun time and we would encourage anyone coming in future spring semesters to check it out! From the vendors, fishing competitions, music and dancing, and crowds of people, it was definitely an experience of Lithuanian culture we will not soon forget! Here are some of our favorite pictures from the day:
(Featuring Flat Stanley from Maine!)