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EDITIONS
Friday, 2 August, 2002, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Thousands descend on eisteddfod city
Eisteddfod ceremony
More than 6,000 competitors will take part
The UK's smallest city is set to be the focus of Celtic ceremony and pageantry for eight days from Saturday as Pembrokeshire hosts the National Eisteddfod.

Welsh people from all over the world are expected to descend on St David's for Europe's oldest and largest cultural festival.

Elfed Roberts, Eisteddfod Director
Elfed Roberts: cultural event

Wales' premier cultural event features more than 6,000 competitors vying for awards in poetry, music, dance and visual arts.

The eisteddfod is being held on the former airfield outside St David's and more than 160,000 people are expected to attend.

The festival alternates its location between north and south Wales on an annual basis.

Eisteddfod director Elfed Roberts is looking forward to increased visitor numbers following last year's event in Denbigh, which was affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

He said: "We had 142,000 people throughout the week last year which was about 20,000 down on our usual attendance for the week.

"But I am anticipating getting back to normal this year."

The eisteddfod is not limited to Welsh speakers.

Eisteddfod crown
The Crown has been designed by David Petersen

Mr Roberts added: "We welcome non-Welsh speakers to join us to enjoy our culture and heritage.

"We have translation equipment available free of charge and certain events have been specially arranged."

Highlights of the week will include the three main ceremonies.

On Monday, the Crown will be awarded for a "Pryddest" - a long poem in free verse.

The winner of the Prose Medal, for a collection of prose, is announced on Wednesday.

The Chairing ceremony for the best poem written in a strict metre called "Cynghanedd" is held on Friday.

However, if judges decide the entries have not attained the high standards required, then no awards are made.

Growth

The eisteddfod is also growing outside the main pavilion.

The arts and craft exhibition is the largest of its kind in Wales, with more than 40,000 visitors during the week.

For the first time this exhibition will be seen on the BBC Wales website and will be shown for 12 months after the event.

From 1000 BST on Saturday morning, BBC Wales will be also be web casting all the eisteddfod pavilion activities, including the main ceremonies.

More than 300 trade stands are spread over the "Maes" or show field, where organisations and companies across Wales can exhibit and sell their products.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Hywel Griffith
"After years of planning and preparation the stage is now set and St David's is ready to welcome Wales to its Eisteddfod."

Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

11 Jul 02 | Wales
09 Jul 02 | Wales
26 Oct 01 | Wales
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