It’s autumn, and in continental Croatia that means that the centre of the pumpkin admiration focuses on Ivanić Grad, where a pumpkin festival has been organised for the past 15 years.
Bučijada, as it’s known in Croatian, always takes place during a weekend in October, and this year it’s next weekend, October the 5th and the 6th.
Organised by the Ivanić Grad Tourist board, this year’s pumpkin celebration includes a meeting of producers of pumpkin seed oil from Croatia, several exhibitions by Croatian artists (including Ivan Lacković-Croata, probably the most notable Croatian naive artist of the 20th century, and an exhibition of sculptures and installations inspired by – the pumpkin!).
During the entire weekend, visitors will be able to purchase all types of pumpkin products: pumpkins themselves, pumpkin seed oil, flour, cookies made from pumpkins etc. (There is no Starbucks in Croatia yet, but if there were, they’d be there making their exclusive pumpkin spice lattes). Almost all restaurants and bars in Ivanić Grad will offer dishes made from pumpkins, and Crafter’s brewery will offer their pumpkin ale on the main square.
If you’re not into beer, and rather prefer wines (NOT made from pumpkins!), you’re in luck, as another Ivanić Grad tradition also takes place this week.
The association of producers of the indigenous Škrlet white wine planned their Škrlet week to coincide with the Bučijada. So, during the week there will be presentations of various Škrlet wines by different producers in Zagreb and Zagreb county, and during the weekend they will feature prominently on the main square in Ivanić Grad with their Šrklet Corner, where you’ll be able to taste and purchase Škrlets by 8 producers. You should taste them, as they’ve won 5 Decanter’s medals this year!
In order to make it easier for people to get from Zagreb to Ivanić Grad (and especially back, after all that Škrlet and pumpkin ale and bučnica), a special Pumpkin Train (Bučko-Express) has been organised to take the pumpkin-lovers from Zagreb to Bučijada. It leaves from Zagreb’s main station (Glavni kolodvor) to Ivanić Grad on Saturday and Sunday morning at 09:20 and returns to Zagreb at 17:25. The return ticket costs 25 kuna, and you can return a bit earlier, or later as well.
There’s really no excuse for anyone who loves pumpkins not to go to Ivanić Grad and their pumpkin festival next weekend!