Happy Sunday all you new Amsterdammers out there. Guess what I happened upon while wandering around the city looking for something interesting to report back you guys? The Spuistraat Festival! If you’re new to the city, there’s always outdoor events in the summer months, and sometimes the best way to find things to do is to just get out there and explore the city.
Since I live in Centrum I often unexpectedly come across street fairs and open-air concerts. Today, like many other days, I didn’t need to venture far to find an activity. Just a few blocks away, the annual Spuistraat Festival, held this Sunday 17 June was in full effect.
The Spuistraat Festival, which is held one day a year, runs along Spuistraat, from Paliesstraat to Spui Square. Merchants that populate Spuistraat set-up booths that offer previews of what’s available in their nearby establishments. Resturants like Café Gollem, and Luden Cafe served cocktails to a jovial mix of tourist, Dutch natives, and expats. The Lucius Visrestaurant stall wowed with oysters shucked on the spot. However, I opted for their crayfish (crawfish where I’m from!), seaweed, and shiitake sampler with a glass of Prosecco for only €5. It was absolutely lekker and left me wanting more. I love seafood and I’ve passed this restaurant a few times; now it’s on my must-try list. I also had delicious freshly squeezed aardbei juice from Koffie Salon and a decadent De Mannen van Kaas brood concoction with sundried tomatoes and artichokes. All I can say is, it’s only Sunday, and I’m already on my way to breaking my self-imposed weekly budget by spending €8 on fancy bread, and I regret nothing.
The event was indeed lively and a bit on the quirky side. In addition to vendor stalls, Pro bee performers (you read it right - Save the Bees!) treated spectators to an interesting procession. The two women walking on stilts were especially impressive. A few makeshift stages featured several different bands. The acts varied from groups covering old-school rock-n-roll to those debuting original acoustic music. Others lead the crowd in traditional Dutch songs which was fun to participate in even though I didn’t have a clue what was being said.
The daylong fair lasted from 12 pm to 11 pm. DJ Jarmo kept the energy high with his up-tempo set. In addition to food and drink, ladies were able to indulge in a free nail art by the newly opened Lakwerk. There were also activities especially geared toward children. BSN Medical painted faces and gave children fake cast which might be needed after playing in the crowded bouncy house.
In true Amsterdam fashion there was an artistic component. One of the coolest parts of the festival was witnessing the creative process of illustrator Mossy Giant, and popular street artists RAF Amsterdam and Hero de Janeiro. I watched in awe as they brought thier vision to fruition effortlessly all while engaging the crowd.
All in all, I had a great time. What started out as a trip to the Amsterdam Museum ended up a more engaging affair. I was able to meet and greet with my neighborhood shopkeepers and I got to try yummy fare that was always available at my fingertips. Even better, everyone was surprisingly friendly and open. The lesson from my little adventure is to open my eyes and enjoy the gifts that are right in front of me.
Have you ever come across a fun activity when you least expect it? Share with use below in the comment section! We can't wait to hear from you.
'Til next time