This and That

Random bits of my life

Hutzot haYotzer 2010 (Jerusalem International Arts & Crafts Festival)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 11, 2010

Thai dancers

Last night we went to Hutzot haYotzer. I haven’t been for a couple years, so I was glad to have an opportunity  to go this year. The festival runs from Aug. 2 to 14, 2010, 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. (midnight, after Shabbat),  in Sultan’s Pool, near the Old City of Jerusalem. This year there are over 150 exhibitors.  I thought the entrance fee (55 NIS, about $12) was quite fair because it is a lot more than a craft fair. There are live performances (I counted four musical venues), a big concert each evening, street theater, a food court, and demonstrations of spinning and glass blowing.

I always go to the international paviliions first. This year the offerings were somewhat more commercial than the last time I was there. Two years ago I found a wonderful Panamian mola that had been cut out of a blouse and made into a bag (blogged here). This year I bought a couple baskets (from South African and Bolivia), a small bag (Guatamala), and a painted turtle box (Indonesia). Or is it a box turtle? 🙂

International Exhibitors

List of exhibitors in the international pavilion.


Beaded figure of a woman from Cameroon


Hungarian lacemaker making a narrow bobbin lace edging. The examples I saw were very similar to Russian bobbin lace, with its trails and plaits.


Chinese artist

Sbun-Nga – Dancers from Thailand

The Thai dance troupe, Sbun-Nga, performed on the small stage in the international pavilion. There were several dance sets, which began with what I presume were somewhat traditional dances. The costumes were lovely. The commentary, over a loudspeaker at the beginning of each set, was in English. If I recall correctly, the woman in the gold cape represents some kind of exotic bird.

Thai dancers

The set in the next photo was modeled on a cooking show. A bare-chested chef wielded a gourd, surrounded by a bevy of writhing maidens with mortars and pestles.

Sbun-Nga Dancers

This set was very funny. How can I describe it. A girl and a carrot. Wait a minute — they’re all holding carrots. According to the commentary, carrots are a sign of hospitality among hard-working Thai farmers (the guys in black). That certainly clears things up!

Sbun-Nga Dancers

Thai dancers

I also found some YouTube videos of their performance in Melbourne this year. They did the Beethoven-with-castanets dance last night. I’m sorry I couldn’t find a video of the carrot dance!

Mosh Ben Ari

The main performer was Mosh Ben Ari, an Israeli singer and composer who sings a mixture of rock, soul, and reggae. (Here’s the official Mosh ben Ari site). We really enjoyed it. My son stayed until the end. We left after about 45 minutes because it was getting late.

Mosh ben Ari concert

My son is somewhere among the masses of arm-waving teenagers in front of the stage (below).

Mosh ben Ari concert

We were sitting near the top of the stands.

Mosh ben Ari concert

I have a few more photos in my Flickr set. The festival was crowded but not unbearable. The food court has improved a lot. Now it’s a lot easier to find reasonably priced kosher food. People who have mobility problems may have difficulty going down some of the rock-cut steps but quite a few ramps have been provided.

6 Responses to “Hutzot haYotzer 2010 (Jerusalem International Arts & Crafts Festival)”

  1. Wow some really nice shots on the dancers! not easy with the low lighting etc.

    • Avital Pinnick said

      Thanks, Martin! I had to shoot a lot of frames, around 700, to get some good shots of the dancers. The low lighting was hard enough. When you factor in the constant movement of the dancers and the overhead lights, timing becomes really critical. Sometimes I’d have a great shot framed where a dancer was going to be moving into a particular pose, and then a yellow overhead spot would shine directly into my camera at that moment. On the other hand, because it was a small stage in an open area, I was able to get quite close and sit/kneel on the ground.

  2. Ann Martin said

    Sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening… like a cultural explosion.

  3. Batya said

    Fantastic post. I haven’t gone there for years and years. After seeing your pictures, I’m sorry I skipped it.

    • Avital Pinnick said

      It’s always a mixed bag and you can never be sure until you get there whether the outing will be worth it. Also, one can’t help but hear reports that the crafts are more commercial, that it’s become quite crowded, that prices are high, and parking a nightmare (can’t disagree with that one — we don’t have a car but I strongly recommend using the municipality-supplied shuttle buses). At the same time, the quality is still quite high and I think you do get value for your money, even though the entrance fee is high for craft shows. If you throw in the street theater and concerts that you get, the price becomes much more reasonable. Another thing which may have turned you off in the past is the kosher food situation. In the past you had to almost elbow people out of the way to get overpriced mediocre food with a hechsher. Now the kosher sector is much better supplied, with reliable te’udot hechsher. If you haven’t been for years, you might want to give it another try.

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