September 1st is the symbolic moment when the Ohrid region begins the slow slump into winter. Beaches empty, swimmers dwindle, cafes hush, dancers disappear, sportsfields find all their goal-getters gone, dreamy tourists dream no more, and one by one the people retreat into the crooked houses of lakeshore towns or jet down runways to faraway lands.
This a time of worry for local citizens, who must endure to the next summer before their tourism livelihoods reactivate again, a cycle of hardship that puts ever more pressure on the June to August period and drives crazier and crazier shoreline developments to bleed as much money as possible from the sunshine in the limited days available.
So September 1st seems like a strange day for a street party, yet that is exactly what Ohrid SOS organized this weekend, inviting all of Ohrid, citizens and tourists both, to a choreographed performance by a team of street artists in the city park!
Our message was that far from a symbol of gathering winter darkness, September 1st is an opportunity for hope, a proof that nine months of latent capacity already exist in the Ohrid region without any need to drain wetlands and urbanize fragile habitats.
After all, 6,000 years of UNESCO-recognized culture and history do not disappear when the leaves turn brown. Nor do 2,000,000 years of unique evolutionary narratives.