In the past the weekly markets, seasonal and annual fairs were the scene for manifestation of the trade relations of the Bulgarians.
The market is an open place for selling and buying of various goods. There wasn't practically a town or a bigger settlement without a market-place. It was held on a definite day in the week-different for the particular settlements.
The fairs are the markets of a particular settlement on a certain holiday in the year. Ever since the Middle Ages there have been sources and documents about the role of the fairs for the international trade relation ns of Bulgaria with the neighbouring countries.
Until the Liberation the fairs were organized on St. George's Day, Virgin Mary's Day, St. Petko's Day, St. Nicolas Day, etc. in many parts of the Bulgarian lands.
They were not only markets for barter and sale-trade of various goods but also and place for broad contacts and manifestation of the creative Bulgarian spirit. There the ethnographical peculiarities in the way of life and culture of the particular ethnographic regions in Bulgaria could be seen for the best.
It's impossible to specify all local and regional fairs in our lands. But the biggest and the most famous were: the Uzundzhovski Fair and Eski-Dzhumaiski Fair.
The activities of the Uzundzhovski Fair lasted nearly two centuries from the first half of 18th c. to 1876. It wasn't accidental the choice of place for the fair as well as its fast development. The village of Uzundzhovo occupied the central location among the Mediterranean, The Black sea ad The Danube. Its population was about 2000 people who together with the exhibitors and visitors I the days of the fair numbered up to 50 000. After the Liberation when the new living conditions set in, the village of Uzundzhovo lost its key position. The marketable produce was directed to another center-Plovdiv where the mass consumption of goods was already done. The tradition of an international fair was handed from Uzundzhovo to the city where the first Bulgarian international trade fair was established in 1892.
Eski-Dzhumaiski Fair was held on St. George's Day. The year of 1839 is considered the beginning of that fair. A certain Rushud Aga was appointed a governor of the town. He estimated the location of the town and gave out the deprived lands from the Bulgarians to close people who built the first permanent shops and inns. That was the beginning of the fair. As the fair-place wasn't sufficient and near the town, in 1865 Midhad Pasha ordered to move it within two km of the town. A plan for the fair was elaborated and kept in the municipality. In the new fair-place the number of the shops was 1202.
For its short period of existence the Architectural and Ethnographic Complex "Etar" has had the ambition to be not only a preserver of the spiritual and material culture of the mountain-dwellers but also and a continuer of the craftsman traditions of the Bulgarians. Therefore in 1990 an idea was initiated-restoration of a folk crafts fair in the museum surroundings. At first on St. Petko's Day and later on at the beginning of September, the "Etar" museum has turned into an attractive center for artisans from the whole country. They come to the museum to present their articles, to exchange ideas and experience. In the days of the fair besides selling and trading, exhibitions of famous are organized, restorations of home crafts and customs are made, rich folklore programmes are performed.