This weekend the 21st Great Dragon Parade (Wielka Parada Smoków) and accompanying events take place in Kraków.
The main attractions of the Great Dragon Parade are a waterborne ‘parade’ on Saturday evening along the Wisła River with dragons floating above boats and barges, accompanied by pyrotechnics, laser and light shows, then, on Sunday, a dragon parade along Grodzka to the Rynek.
A ‘Dragon Family Picnic’ will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10am by the Dragons Den, on the Wisła embankment below Wawel.
The theme of this year’s event will be the dragons of Polish cities, cathedrals, castles and palaces. After a pandemic break, the Dragon Parade weekend returns in a “three-headed” format.
The parade is organised and the dragons are ‘animated’ by ‘Teatr Groteska’, Kraków, with the professional dragons joined on Sunday for the street parade by dozens of school kids with home made dragons from all over Poland.
The main events are:-
Dragon Family Picnic
Vistula Boulevards at the Dragon’s Den
Exciting dragon games and fun await visitors, including putting your hand in a dragon’s mouth, tracking down dragons and rolling dragon eggs. In addition, a great archery tournament, stealth exercises and numerous competitions and attractions will take place in the tents of the picnic partners.
Saturday 4th June – 10am-8pm
Sunday 5th June – 10am-7pm
RIVER PARADE Great Outdoor Spectacle on the Vistula
Vistula Boulevards at the foot of Wawel Hill
Saturday 4th June – 10pm
The great outdoor show – “light & sound” on the Vistula (Wisła) combines pyrotechnic effects, music, light and water curtains. During the show large, flying dragons will be presented (up to 25m in length and 15m in height), amazing creatures ‘flying’ from boats are animated by the actors of the Groteska Theatre. This year, dragon designs have been inspired by ancient Polish architecture..
Ecological ‘quiet’ fireworks
As in 2021, this year’s Show will have an ecological formula. The display will use the most modern quiet pyrotechnics – much quieter, but equally visually attractive as traditional pyrotechnics. Quiet fireworks generate a sound with a lower intensity compared to the classic ones, they do not cause a bang, and the noise they emit is insignificant. It will be low and medium height pyrotechnics, not influencing significantly outside the show space, and fully biodegradable.
Entry is free, there is a ticketed VIP section, though it appears to be sold out.
STREET PARADE ‘Parade of Dragons’
Sunday 5th June 12-3pm
Route: Planty (from Gertrudy street) – ul. Grodzka – Main Market Square
Over 1,000 children from all over the country take part in the Great Dragon Parade. The kids and their helpers ‘animate’ their own home made dragons.. The dragons compete for the title of the most beautiful and ingenious dragon. The colourful parade with music and dragon roars – is accompanied by dancers, orchestras, as well as stilt-walkers and jugglers.
The Dragon Parade will be accompanied by the music of three Krakow bands: Sorrir Por Favor! will play energetic samba, Capoeira UNICAR Kraków will give a fight-dance show, and Krakowska Orkiestra Staromiejska will play marching and pop music on wind instruments.
Here are some images we took at a previous river parade.
Arrive early, grab a seat on the wall along the Wisła, or find a spot on the grassy embankment and throw down a picnic rug, then expect to be surrounded by an ever growing crowd as the time of the parade grows closer. If coming by car, park well away from the Wisła/Wawel area to avoid the post parade congestion. If you are lucky or have planned ahead, then booking a table on one of the barges or rooftop bars/restaurants overlooking the river will guarantee the best view.
Expect traffic and parking difficulties over the weekend, but the good news is that extra trams and buses are provided for the end of the river spectacle on Saturday evening.
Information on traffic disruption
In connection with the 21st Great Dragon Parade organised on 4-5 June 2022, the Groteska Theatre informs about possible traffic difficulties:
June 4 (Saturday):
10.00-23.00 on the following streets: Bernardyńska, Smocza and Koletek during the Family Picnic on the Vistula Boulevards
21.00-23.00 at ul. Powiśle, during the Evening Outdoor Show on the Vistula River, the ride will be limited or closed.
In connection with the Evening Outdoor Show on the Vistula, the crossings for pedestrians and cyclists are closed:
From 8.00 am on the promenade on the Vistula River, from the Grunwaldzki Bridge to the Dębnicki Bridge (Poleski Boulevard on the side of Grunwaldzki Roundabout).
from 8.00 p.m. on the promenade on the Vistula River, from the Dragon’s Den to the Dębnicki Bridge (Czerwieński Boulevard on the Wawel side).
June 5 (Sunday)
10.00-15.00 – at ul. Grodzka, All Saints Square and the Main Market Square during the Dragon Parade, animated by nearly 1,000 children from kindergartens, schools and cultural institutions, which from ul. Grodzka, they will march to the Main Square, where the Competition for the Most Beautiful Dragon Parade will be held
12.00-13.00 – tram traffic will be stopped at the Square of All Saints.
10.00-19.00 at ul. Bernardyńska, Smocza and Koletek during the Family Picnic on the Vistula Boulevards.
Changes in public transport
Due to the great dragon picnic and the outdoor spectacle in the bend of the Vistula, changes will be made to the running of lines 1, 9, 13, 22, 52, 62 and 164. Details here.
Weekend Events in Kraków
If Dragons aren’t your thing, Krakow.pl have published a listing of the weekends events in Kraków.
Enjoy, Kraków dragons, are friendly dragons!
A Scot in Kraków. The founder and editor of Kraków Expats Directory, and our sister site Kraków TV www.krakowtv.pl.
David fell in love with Kraków 23 years ago, making it his home in 2011. In 2020 he was awarded the title of Kraków’s Ambassador of Multiculturalism, by the President of Kraków.
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