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Car-Free Avenue once again reconnects the heart of Tartu

Tartu City Government Press Release

Car-Free Avenue Photo: Mana Kaasik

18 April / This summer, a section of Vabaduse Puiestee in Tartu will once again become car-free. With a diverse cultural programme and an exciting spatial solution, Car-Free Avenue will be taking place from 29 June–6 August.

Taking place for the fourth time, summertime Car-Free Avenue will begin with a gala concert celebrating Tartu City Day and end with the Tartu Food and Wine Festival. Car-Free Avenue will be closed to car traffic during the event from the Market Building to Kaarsild Bridge.

According to Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas, Car-Free Avenue has become an anticipated annual summer event among the townspeople, which enlivens the city centre and brings visitors here from further afield. ‘This year’s Car-Free Avenue will serve as a dress rehearsal for next year, when we will be wearing the title of European Capital of Culture, while also enlivening the city centre in midsummer. The attractive and crowded downtown area also offers our catering and accommodation establishments more opportunities to host visitors,’ the mayor explained.

A cultural programme will be offered to residents and friends of Tartu throughout the period, at a steady pace, from Thursday through Saturday. On Thursdays, concerts curated by the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 will take place, Friday events are inspired by the Year of Mobility, and on Saturdays the programme will include many events for families. Movement days end with evening dances, and family days with movie nights at Tartu Elektriteater.

According to Sten Svetlyakov, head of the Department of Culture, Car-Free Avenue will be arriving in its old familiar form. ‘We analysed the good practices of previous years and are attempting to amplify them this year. The programme is tightly packed and full of different events so that all residents and guests of Tartu will be able to enjoy a different kind of urban space and a diverse programme. We have also intentionally left room for spontaneous fun, so that you can simply enjoy the urban environment, play with your children, and chat with your friends. At the same time, not everything has been finalised, and you can let us know if there are any good ideas with which to complement the programme,’ the head of the Department of Culture added.

Tartu’s various youth centres will also be moving from their indoor spaces to Car-Free Avenue for the summer. There will be activities for children and young people every day for a month, from arts and crafts to trainings. During this period, street youth workers will be walking around the city and directing young people to take part in activities.

Car-Free Avenue will also see the return of the swimming pool, the biggest hit with toddlers from the first two years. In addition, a carousel, climbers, sprinklers and other attractions will be coming to the site. Street furniture from previous years will also be reused. A stage will be built on the hillside of the park on the city centre side and will remain there for the year of the Capital of Culture.

When organizing the Car-Free Avenue, the City of Tartu and Tartu 2024’s Guide to Organising Environmentally Friendly Events will be implemented, to reduce the environmental impact of the event. Within the area deposit cups and dishes are used, renewable energy is consumed, free drinking water is offered instead of bottled water, waste is sorted and visitors are encouraged to choose environmentally friendly modes of travel.

Car-Free Avenue is being organised by the City of Tartu, the Tartu 2024 Foundation, the Tiigi Society House, Tartu Turg, Tartu Youth Work Centre, and many other good partners.

For further information, please contact Sten Svetljakov, Head of the Department of Culture, Tel: 554-9393.

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Last changed 15.05.2023