„Highlanders’ Carnival” is a folk festival including music and dance shows, as well as one-horse open sleigh race and other snow-related competitions.
„Highlanders’ Carnival” is a Nationwide Caroling Group’s Competition, Dancing Couples Show, Highwayman’s Dance Competition and “Kumoterki” known as a race of a highlander pair in the snow in a one-horse open sleigh. It is the biggest this kind folklore event in Poland.
The main core of the event is the caroling groups competition, which perfectly cultivates and popularizes the traditional customs and caroling rituals associated with the Christmas, New Year and carnival time. The program assumption of the Highlander Carnival is also cultivating the folk tradition of regional dances: highlanders and highwaymen, and maintaining cultural contacts between authentic folkloric environments, as well as organizing cultural entertainment for a large number of tourists by showing them the beauty of carnival customs.
Among the events accompanying the project should be mentioned: National Exhibition of Folk Art, Winter National Exhibition of Polish Tatra Sheepdogs and “Kumoterki” – horse sleigh race. Every year extremely large audience is impressed by the richness of costumes, dance steps, lively melodies and carols of numerous bands from amateur artistic movement, which has best interest at heart of cultivating the beautiful traditions of our folk culture.
The event has been organized every year since 1973.

Resources needed

• financed by the Malopolska Region, own resources, sponsorship and promotion;
• Organized and supervised project by the Director Local Culture Center in Bukowina Tatrzanska and a team of seven permanent employees supported by approx. 10 volunteers;

Evidence of success

• Increasing number of participants taking part in competitions and accompanying events;
• database of people and institutions cultivating folk traditions;
• increase in attractiveness of the region and Bukowina Tatrzanska itself;
• more tourists visiting our region;
• increased interest in folk and regional culture in children and youth environment;
• bigger social activity and involvement in development of the region;
• presenting Polish culture on the European arena.

Difficulties encountered

The main difficulties during the project concern raising funds for the Carnival and promotion of the event on the national arena due to the insufficient involvement of public media.

Potential for learning or transfer

The Highlander Carnival is both a cultural experience for the public, as well as an annual creative impulse for organizers of cultural life and the participants themselves whose circle is constantly expanding. The consistently implemented formula of the competition causes that at the Highlander Carnival meet best performers from Poland, numerous representatives of the world of culture and science and people who are sensitive to the beauty and Polish folklore. The event has its loyal supporters, spectators and its regular participants, among them there is the amount of young people which is getting bigger from year to year.
These premises indicates that there is the need to organize events conducive to regional tradition and protection of the folk culture.

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Main institution
Local Culture Center in Bukowina Tatrzanska
Małopolskie, Poland (Polska)
Start Date
November 1973
End Date


Katarzyna Opoczka Please login to contact the author.