The 22nd Great Dragon Parade (Wielka Parada Smoków) and accompanying events take place in Kraków on Saturday 3rd – Sunday 4th June 2023.
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, with exciting dragon games and fun, as well as numerous competitions and attractions for all ‘dragonologists’
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 3rd June – 10am-8pm
Sunday 4th June – 10am-7pm
RIVER PARADE Great Outdoor Night Spectacle on the Vistula
Vistula Boulevards at the foot of Wawel Hill
Saturday 3rd 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.
Environmentally Friendly Fireworks
As in previous years, this year’s show will have an environmentally friendly formula. This year’s night show will be more environmentally friendly than before. – Modern silent pyrotechnics – much quieter, but as visually attractive as the traditional ones, will be used. Quiet fireworks generate less sound, do not cause a bang, and the noise they emit is insignificant and are fully biodegradable
Entry is free. There is a separate, seated, ticketed area, however this is already sold out.
STREET PARADE ‘Parade of Dragons’
Sunday 4th June 12-3pm
Route: Planty (from Gertrudy street) – ul. Grodzka – Main Market Square
More than 30 dragons, from all over the country take part in the Great Dragon Parade. The colourful parade with music and dragon roars – is accompanied by dancers, orchestras, as well as stilt-walkers and jugglers.
This year’s dragons of cities, cathedrals, castles and Polish palaces gathered together. In addition to the creatures that hope for a prize, the parade will be attended by dragon guests: the dragon Matilda, the Chinese dragon of the Confucius Institute, the dragon from the city hall and seven dragons created at the Groteska Theater, which will be carried by children from Poland and Ukraine.
The dragons compete for the title of the most beautiful and ingenious dragon. The name of the Most Beautiful Dragon of the Parade will be announced around 1.30 pm on the Main Market Square.
Here are some images we took at a previous river parade.
The best place to view the water parade from is between the Grunwaldzki bridge and Debnicki bridge, on the castle side – The opposite bank is closed for fireworks & technical area.
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. Some charge a fee or require a minimum spend.
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.
June 3 (Saturday):
Possible disruptions : 10.00-23.00 on the following streets: Bernardyńska, Smocza and Koletki during the Family Picnic on the Vistula
Boulevards 21.00-23.00 ul. Powiśle, during the Evening Outdoor Show on the Vistula River, the passage will be limited or 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 the Grunwaldzki Roundabout)
from 20.00 on the promenade on the Vistula River, from the Wawel Dragon to the Dębnicki Bridge (Czerwieński Boulevard on the Wawel side)
June 4 ( Sunday ):
10:00-15:00 on ul. Grodzka, Plac All Saints and the Main Square during the Dragon Parade, animated by nearly 1,000 children from kindergartens, schools and cultural institutions, who from ul. Grodzka will march to the Main Market Square, where the Competition for the Most Beautiful Dragon of the 22nd Great Dragon Parade will take place.
at 12.00-13.00 tram traffic on the Square of All Saints is suspended.
at 10:00-19:00 on ul. Bernardyńska, Smocza and Koletki 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.
Enjoy, Kraków dragons, are friendly dragons!
David fell in love with Kraków 24 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, and is also a member of the GlobalScot network, representing Scottish culture and business abroad.
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