Established in 1990, Pika’s Festival is the most popular event in Velenje and the largest children’s festival that attracts its audience from all over Slovenia. Although planned from the outset as an event for children, it is also popular with parents and teachers. Since 2008 it has been organised by the newly established municipal Velenje Festival Institute.
The festival is named after the heroine Pippi Longstocking (Swedish Pippi Langstrump, Slovene Pika Nogavička), a fictional character in a series of children’s books created by author Astrid Lindgren. The spirit of Pippi/Pika as an unconventional and extraordinary strong heroine pervades the festival in Velenje, which aims to develop the imaginations of children as well as adults. Humanity and tolerance towards diversity and otherness is also encouraged. The educational component of the project relates to culture as well as ecology, ethnology, anthropology, new media and technologies.
Pika’s Festival features exhibitions, theatre, dance and puppet performances, concerts and workshops. The festival’s programme is a unique combination of Slovene professional (Mladinsko Theatre, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Mini Theatre), amateur (Loški oder Theatre) or local (Celje Dance Forum, Velenje Puppet Theatre) performing groups and artists. It is supported by the Municipality of Velenje but also generates income through donations, sponsorship, grants, and sales.