Perhaps the most important event organized during the summer months in the UNESCO International Geopark “Hațegului Realm”, the Dinosaur Festival brings together a lot of surprise-activities, most of them interactive ones, which promote the values of the area, the geological and geographical specificity of the place, the dinosaurs, but also … the locals, the local traditions and a fairytale landscape!
“The Dinosaur Festival” is an event – an invitation to discover the geological, natural and cultural values on the territory of the UNESCO International Geopark “Hațegului Realm”. The story of tens of millions of years of Earth, the story of all plants and animals ancient or still living (Nature) and the story of the people who built, throughout history, strong communities (Fables) are revealed through educational activities, unique cultural and artistic features. ”The event, organized together with the local communities in the Geopark, is held annually, on the last weekend of July”, explains Adina Popa, communication specialist from the Dinosaurs Geopark “Hațegului Realm”.
In 2019 the Dinosaur Festival reached its fifth edition, and over the years the organizers welcomed the locals and the tourist visiting Hațegului Realm as well, to the festival with all kinds of surprises and activities that are more and more attractive for all age groups.
In 2019, for example, the Dinosaur Festival added an invitation to explore the diversity of Planet Earth, but also to discover the places and people of the UNESCO International Geopark Hațegului Realm, which is administered by the University in Bucharest. The first day of the festival included the opening of the interactive exhibition UNESCO Hunedoara. The Hațegului Geopark, the Dacian Fortresses in the Orăștiei Mountains and the Retezat National Park – Biosphere Reservation are the three UNESCO sites in the county, and the Dinosaur Festival brought them together under the slogan “An entire world in one county”. The three sites invited the participants to discover their uniqueness by beeing a part of many interactive activities.
The pupils from the ” Bretea Romana” General School perfomed the play “Hansel, Gretel and … the good dinosaur”. The play is an adaptation of the famous fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” of the Brothers Grimm, in a unique approach, with reference to the unique living beings in the world that populated the planet about 70 million years ago the present territory of the Geopark.
On the second day of the festival, the Women’s Association of Sântămăria Orlea told “The story of the woolen thread” at the Dinosaur School and crafts (school building) in Sânpetru village, Sântămăria Orlea parish, an interactive workshop that celebrated its third edition. The ones attending, discovered wool dyeing techniques by using natural colors, obtained from plants, and the children were able to attend a workshop in which they could create their own souvenirs to remind them of this event and the Geopark visit. On the second day of the festival in Sânpetru, a new travel portal was opened in time for tourists to enjoy the virtual meeting with the Hatzegopteryx thambema pterosaur. In the “At the Clip” geosphere, one of the greatest creatures that ever lived on Earth once again flew over the places that were familiar to him 70 million years ago. Thanks to an augmented reality application, available on the mobile phone, developed by the Wild Roots Association within the “Windows in time” project co-financed by the Partnership Foundation and MOL Romania, those present could even take a selfie with the gigantic flying reptiles.
On the third day of the festival, in the Pestera Village, Sălașu de Sus Parish, tourists were invited to discover elements of popular technical heritage, together with the Social – Cultural Association “Sălășana”. A mill and a steal made and used by the villagers over 100 years ago, awaited the tourists on a theme path, decorated within the project “Nature’s music made by stone, wood and water”.
The last day of the festival was destined for the exhibition entitled “The Earth’s Story ” that took place at the Pedagogical Museum in Brasov. The exhibition was organized together with the National Forum of Geoparks and was an invitation for the little ones to discover the Planet Earth and its diversity through rocks and fossils. Six Geopark volunteers held educational workshops that guided the little ones on the adventure of discovery.
According to the representatives of the UNESCO International Geopark Hațegului Realm, it comprises the whole Hateg area and has the status of a UNESCO site, being part of the International Program for Geosciences and Geoparks, which brings together 147 territories from 41 different countries! The geopark proposes a journey in time, through the 4.6 billion years history of the Earth, attracting tourists not only in reference to the specific geology, but also in relation to the archeology, history and culture of the place. Dinosaurs discovered in Hațegului Realm are unique in the world, their scientific importance and attractiveness are enhanced by the discovery of eggs and dinosaurs offsprings, of mammals contemporary with the dinosaurs and of a giant flying reptile (Hatzegopteryx) from the pterosaurs species.