The Saranda Opening of the Season Festival is an annual activity hosted by the Saranda municipality along the seaside promenade (shtetitore, as known in Albanian). Occurring the first or second weekend of May, it begins on a Friday night with the Mussel/Midhje Fest. On this night there are many vendors selling traditionally prepared mussels and musical performances. The food is very cheap, you can try different types of preparation such as mussels cooked in a different sauces, cooked on skewers with herbs and in the shell with vegetables and spices. As well, beer tents and local wine companies sell out of booths. The performances are a combination of youth and young adults doing traditional dances, as well as popular Albanian and international songs being sung. Usually the festival also hosts one high profile Albanian artist such as Tuna or Rita Ora. Plus of course the necessary speeches by the local officials, the mayor and such.
The festival also allows for (some) local organizations to have displays, such as the Shtepia e Femijes/Children’s Home and the Senior Citizens Center. Here we, the Children’s Home, displayed artwork created by the children and even had some available for purchase. We were successful in selling a couple of the bracelets and have sold further at the schools since.