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Cross-country skiing, ice skating and toboganning are all popular winter sports; Aukstaitija National Park, in eastern Lithuania, has the best cross-country skiing trails. The national park is also a good canoeing area - trips can be organised and equipment rented from the park's tourism and recreation centre. The west coast of the country attracts large numbers of bird-watchers, especially to the town of Vente, on the eastern side of the Curonian Lagoon, which is home to an ornithological preserve.
The Fisherman's Club in Vilnius provides advice on all types of fishing and arranges fishing trips in Lithuania. In the depths of winter, ice fishing is popular on the frozen Curonian Lagoon. Skydiving and ballooning can be arranged in Vilnius. There are plenty of opportunities to rent bicycles and there are some fun (and mostly flat) cycling tours.
The most emotive cultural event is the National Song Festival, held every five years (the next one will be in Vilnius in 2000). Over 100,000 people are expected to join in with the singing of several hundred choirs from the Baltic region. Midsummer celebrations are keenly celebrated in these latitudes: the night of 23 June, considered to have magical powers, is the climax of events. The Baltika folk festival rotates among the Baltic capitals - it's due in Lithuania in July 1999.
Other popular cultural events include horse races on Lake Sartai in Dusetos, near Utena, on the first Saturday of February; St Casimir Day, Lithuania's patron saint's day, on 4 March; April's International Jazz Festival, which attracts top musicians from all over the world to Kaunas; and the Life Theatre Festival, a week-long theatre festival that features avant-garde productions in Vilnius in May. Also in Vilnius is a week-long Summer Music Festival of street theatre, dancing, masked parades and craft fairs in the Old Town in July; and Vilnius City Days, three days of musical and cultural events in theatres, concert halls and on the streets in mid-September. Velines (All Souls' Day) commemorates the dead with visits to cemeteries on 2 November.
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