Tartu's summer 'Car-free Avenue' to come with refreshed culture program

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The last day of 'Car-free Avenue' in Tartu. Source: Mana Kaasik

A part of Tartu's Vabaduse puiestee will once again be made into a "Car-free Avenue" from July 9-August 8. The popular initiative from last year will see improvements and additions made to its cultural program and activities, the city announced.

"Autovabaduse (Car-free) puiestee was one of the more memorable events from last summer. We decided to bring it back this year so that the people of Tartu and our visitors could spend quality time in the city center. This year, Autovabaduse puiestee will be extended to the nearby park and the themes of the month-long event are urban space and environment," Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas said.

The primary goal of the "Car-free Avenue" is to attract people to spend time safely in the Tartu city center, offering them a cultural program and activities that enliven the city space. The city will also cooperate with culture organizers, entrepreneurs, partnering sectors and other summer events, such as Rally Estonia, Tartuff, rock opera "Johnny" and other Tartu food and wine festival organizers.

"Car-free avenue" program manager Maris Peebo said that visitors will be met with an even larger water feature, a carousel and food and handiwork markets. You can find art and picnic areas in the park, a skate park and a stationary stage, where the Tartu 2024 team is inviting musicians and DJs. Those who wish, can also use the driverless bus travelling on Vabaduse puiestee.

"In addition to the versatile concert program, there are other means of entertainment as well. We welcome people to come play tennis, learn sign language, the elderly have their own dance nights and music friends can visit the wind instrument concerts on Sundays. There is also a four-week charity auction in cooperation with the Tartu Art House," Peebo added.

People can also propose their own ideas on how to enliven this year's "Car-free Avenue" programme. Idea presenters should also be prepared to see their own visions through and can write in their idea on this link.

The environmental topic this year will invite people to think along on the topic. Among many things, the soon-completed environmentally friendly event guide will be implemented in Tartu and the initiative will go under an environmental analysis right as it wraps up.

Organizers are also keeping a close eye on the epidemiological situation and will take the coronavirus spread into consideration when planning activities. As was the case last summer, activities and catering is designed in a way that should allow for distancing. Hygiene options are also provided, along with security to avoid gatherings.

Last year's "Car-free Avenue" saw more than 150,000 visitors and more than 200 events, performances, discussions, meetings, concerts and workshops took place. See a gallery of the final day here.

A similar initiative was undertaken in the Latvian capital city of Riga, which was however cancelled after a few days due to the heightened risk of COVID-19 spread.

Tartu's Car-Free Avenue. Source: Maanus Kullamaa

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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