Less than a month ago the biggest square in Dalmatia (all 4,700m2 of it) was graced by Tom Cruise on an impromptu walkabout ending in a pizza at restaurant Kogo, but on September 25, 2012, an even bigger movie star from America turned up on the island of Hvar to thank its citizens for their contribution to another successful season.
"We are a small island and a community, and we would like to thank everyone for helping us to achieve another successful season," said Ivan Gospodnetic, owner of main sponsor, Restaurant Gariful. "We are delighted so many children have turned up today and are obviously enjoying themselves."
Today's event, which brought children from the neighbouring towns of Jelsa and Stari Grad, was the start of the traditional 'Adio Ljeto' (Goodbye Summer) celebrations, a chance for the businesses of Hvar to thank the local community for their contribution to the tourist season. The main event will be a five-a-side football tournament featuring teams from the main bars and restaurants on the island beginning on October 8.
Today's events, which started at 10am and included Disneyland appearances from Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck, also featured four parachute jumps onto the island's main square (see video below), which is temporary home to some of the world's biggest celebrities - Hvar this year welcomed Michael Schumacher, Roman Abramovich and Eric Clapton.
While today's event was enjoyed by dozens of children, who went home with presents and free face painting, it does not yet signify the end of the season on the island, which was named by Lonely Planet as its number 5 destination for 2012. Hvar Town celebrates the feast of St Stephen on October 2, when official celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the oldest municipal theatre in Europe will begin. This will be followed by Peskafondo 2012, a four-day culinary festival, with a squid hunting championship at its core, as Hvar seeks to build on its emerging gastronomic reputation to prolong what has been yet another successful season.