The seventh Emigrant’s Day was organised by the Rijeka branch office of the CHF, the VMO Unije association, the City of Mali Lošinj, the Mali Lošinj Tourism Board, the Slow Food Unije+ association and the Shores Of Our Grandchildren association.
For the seventh year running the locals of the island of Unije celebrating a day dedicated to their emigrant fellow islanders living around the world with entertainment, sports events and a folk festival.
The event kicked off on the evening ahead of Emigrant’s Day, organised by the Rijeka branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation, the VMO Unije association, the City of Mali Lošinj, the Mali Lošinj Tourism Board, the Slow Food Unije+ association and the Shores Of Our Grandchildren association.
Some forty children participated in an art workshop for children organised by the Shores Of Our Grandchildren association and under the mentorship of students of the Art Academy of Rijeka. In the evening nine couples took part in a very popular adaptation of the Alka ring-titling contest on the town’s waterfront – the Unije version involves wheelbarrows. The top prize went to Kristina Dilber and Ljubomir Livić.
Emigrant’s Day itself, July 19th, saw an all-day programme that included the 14th running of the local cross-country race – sixty-six kids took part in four age categories. The group winners were Anžej Polanc and Brina Jančar, Luka Laferton and Eva Matešić, Filip Dostanić and Katja Trcin, and Maja Premzl and Mila Malić.
The afternoon saw a futsal tournament. The first match featured two children’s sides – the Black Shadows (Crne sjene) vs. the Phoenixes (Feniksi), followed by a showdown between the two senior sides, the Shores Of Our Grandchildren association team and the VMO Unije team. Mayor Gari Cappelli took an active role in celebrating Emigrant’s Day, serving as an excellent referee for both matches. And while both games were friendly matches, we did get winners – the Black Shadows for the kid’s team and the VMO Unije team for the seniors.
With the athletics behind us, the celebration turned at 9pm to a music stage show featuring the children of the island of Unije and their seasonal guests. They put on a fashion show, performing dances and songs to the delight of everyone on hand.
Ahead of the folk festival the head of the Rijeka branch office of the Croatian Heritage Foundation Dejan Miculinić joined the president of the Neighbourhood Council Robert Nikolić in welcoming everyone on behalf of the organisers.
The organisers presented the winners of the sporting events with medals and diplomas and commendations for associates and long-time participants of Emigrant’s Day celebrations on the island of Unije: Katarina and Tomaž Erzar, Neven Bildar from the Shores Of Our Grandchildren association, the head of the kid’s art workshop Kristina Dilber, and to the organisers of the children’s music stage show Marija Rukljač, Katarina Krsmanović and Milena Dostanić.
The festivities continued with the Edi Flego & Co. band and little help from the locals of the island of Unije and visiting tourists who closed off another Island of Unije Emigrant’s Day with song and dance.
Text and photos by: Dejan Miculinić