Czechs are fast developing a taste for adrenalin, artistic blacksmiths from around the world meet at Helfštýn Castle and, ten young men hang from the ceiling by their feet – in order to get into the Czech Book of Records. Find out more in Magazine with Daniela Lazarova.

Czechs are fast developing a taste for adrenalin and a growing number of agencies on the market are offering adrenalin adventures and experiences, most often as unique gifts for family and friends. If you know of someone with a daredevil streak there is no need to rack your brains as to what gift would please them best – you can choose between a ride in a tank, a fighter jet or you could get them kidnapped by a special commando. Of course, it is wise to give the agency a very good description – someone else might not appreciate the treat. You can also buy a gift voucher for swimming with killer sharks in South Africa or, if you want something slightly tamer, then you can give your friend the opportunity to be someone else for the day: a garbage collector, a circus performer or a photographer for an erotic magazine. You never know, they may uncover hidden talents. In any case we are a zillion miles away from the days when young Czechs were ecstatic to receive a pair of real Western jeans as a birthday gift!

Pelhřimov is a mecca for Czechs who love records and curiosities. The local authorities hold the Czech Book of Records and they organize special events and summer festivals for people who want to set new records. The one set this week was more bizarre than most: ten young men hanging from the ceiling – glued by their shoes with the help of instant glue. The idea was to see how long the glue would keep them stuck to the ceiling and the answer is ten seconds – after which they started dropping off the ceiling like flies. Well, you name it and some Czech has done it, and if not they almost certainly will. The International Summer Festival of Records and Curiosities in Pelhřimov takes place this weekend and this year is a special occasion since the festival has come of age – it is celebrating its eighteenth year. One of the most attractive exhibits this year is the biggest dream-book in the Czech Republic – possibly in the whole world. Its author Oldřich Reisigl spent much of his life putting it together. The book will help you interpret over 10,000 different dreams. It weighs 7 kilos and has over 4,300 pages. Possibly the most anticipated record of this year’s festival is a marathon race to see how quickly one can knit a sweater from scratch. The event will begin with the shearing of a sheep and then a team of seven people will wash the wool, comb it, dry it, spin it and at the end of the line a knitter will knit the sweater. All of this should take them an estimated seven hours.

Some two hundred fathers and children attended the second annual Fathers’ Festival in Prague last weekend. The organizers of the event said they wanted to encourage Czech fathers to spend more time with their children and get rid of the deep-rooted notion that child-care is predominantly a mother’s task. The festival offered creative activities such as “paint your dad” in which kids used body paint to improve their father’s appearance, sporting events in which fathers competed against each other and even workshops at which fathers could talk about their own upbringing, what they admired about their own fathers and what they wanted to hand down to their children.

Every summer artistic blacksmiths from around the world head for a 14th century castle in Moravia. With its medieval atmosphere Helfštýn Castle provides the perfect setting for this ancient art and ever since the first exhibition was held there in 1982 Helfštýn has become a mecca for blacksmiths and admirers of the art alike. The annual meeting of artistic blacksmiths called Hefaiston has gained an excellent reputation on world scale and every year its organizers welcome up to 600 participants and 10 000 visitors. Visitors are able to admire blacksmithing art exhibits from around the world as watch blacksmiths at work out in the courtyard. During the tourist season visitors to the castle can view a permanent exhibition of their work in the castle cellars, as well as a mint with replica Renaissance coin-making-machinery and a period blacksmith’s workshop. Moreover this year the event’s organizers have managed to fulfill an old promise – to provide accommodation for visiting blacksmiths in the castle itself. In past centuries Helfštýn was always an important centre of artistic blacksmiths, but the reputation it has acquired today has surpassed all expectations.

On the other hand if you like to dress up in period costumes don’t miss the annual Silver Mining Festival in Kutná Hora, a town which boasts several UNESCO-listed sites. Every year this former royal mining town returns to its roots, holding a medieval fair and silver mining festival. The locals welcome a historic procession – Emperor Charles IV and members of his court – to town and give a feast in his honour, much as they did in the old days when Charles IV visited his subjects and relied on the town for revenues. The Silver Mining Festival will be held on the weekend of June 21st and 22nd and will take visitors back 600 years with period costumes, music, food and many other attractions. Theatre performances and live bands perform out in the open and the festival ends with a big party and midsummer bonfire. So if you happen to be anywhere near Kutná Hora at the time – don’t miss it!