The season ends on a high note on Öland

While the VISIT project has moved on to the Finnish Archipelago, the season is about to end on a high note on Öland in Sweden, where the previous VISIT Intensive Week took place in May. Since then, an extremely busy and hectic high season has passed on Öland. The VISIT project aims to find solutions to improve pre- and post-season service activities on small islands in order to enhance SMEs’ offerings and increase the appeal of these destinations throughout the year.

Events all around the island

Stakeholders on Öland have successfully been working with innovative business strategies since the mid-1990s. In their ambition to create “a new high season”, a harvest festival was launched on Öland, which today encompasses +900 events all around the island during the last week of September. It has become the largest of its kind in Sweden with approximately 300 000 visitors attending its various events over the weekend.

The 2019 festival officially opened on Wednesday 25 September in Öland’s village of the year – Källa – at the very north of the island, signaling the start of events all around the island. Farmers, shop owners and cooks of all sorts have been stacking up their produce and are open for business, having put up a sign with pumpkins on a bale of hay.

Busy mainstream of Eriksöre village

The narrow streets of a multitude of villages turn into busy shopping districts, cramped with people looking for locally grown vegetables, spices, fruits and plants, but also meats and food products such as cheese and sausages. Restaurants and other food outlets as well as accommodation and lodging venues are all busy as if it were the middle of July.

Ready for business

Different days have different themes. The most popular activity is the Friday Art Night with its many art exhibitions, installations and live music performances. The visitors enter potteries and art studios to see the artists and craftsmen at work, and maybe try themselves.

Blowing air into 1200 degrees glass mass makes it glow while making a shape for a lamp

The harvest festival has become one of the most important sales points of the year for business owners on Öland. It allows both for regular tourist enterprises to finish their stock before they close for the winter and for pop-up shops and farmers to enter the tourist market temporarily. During its more than 20 years of existence, the harvest festival has become an institution and an impressive mobilization of local resources set off for a short time period. The harvest festival prolongs the tourist seasonand marks its end with a grand finale.

-Per Pettersson-