Festivals and Marathons
At the end of February/beginning of March, during the week of the Purim holiday, the Old City and all of Be’er-Sheva fills with children and adults in costumes, street parties, parades with floats, and comic events in the parks. Three-cornered cookies, called ozne Haman (lit. Haman’s ears; see the biblical Book of Esther), traditionally filled with poppy seeds, but also filled with: prune jam, pressed dates, chocolate, nuts, marzipan, etc. are eaten.
The 1st annual Israel national Be’er-Sheva Quick-Chess Tournament, in memory of the founder of the Be’er-Sheva Chess Club, Eliyahu Levant, was held mid-March, with 89 participants from across the country, including 14 grand masters, 8 international masters & 1 woman grand master, Ilana David, Director of the Be’er-Sheva Club.
Every year since 2012, in the Spring and after sunset, Be’er-Sheva holds a city-wide night “Light/Glow Run” with over 5,000 active participants of all ages and large cheering crowds lining the streets, managed by “Kivunim.“ Before the race, all the registered runners are given a warmup session and painted and equiped with glowing colors. There are three well-lit courses provided: for 2.5, 5 and 10 kilometer runs. After the race, there is an afterparty with well-known local D.J.s and celebs.
In Be’er-Sheva, every July is the time of the International Multidisciplinary Fringe Festival, open to the public and with attractions for all ages and tastes–theater, dance, music, street arts, comedy, drama, improvisation, etc. This quality festival was recognized by the European Festivals Association (EFA) in 2017 as being the best festival held in Israel.
Each August since 2015, a 40+08 Artistic/Cultural Marathon is held in the Old City of Be’er-Sheva. During this designated 48-hour period, visual artists of all kinds produce their novel creations, that are then presented to the public as a part of the “Zohar Deromi” (lit., southern glow) Festival at various Old City venues. The name of this marathon refers not only to the timeframe, but also suggests route 40 (that reaches Be’er-Sheva) and telephone area code 08 (for dialing the southern region). Free night-time tours of the Old City are also provided.
Every year in September, Be’er-Sheva holds a Wine Festival at the restored Ottoman-Turkish Train Station.
Since 2013, at the start of every academic year in the Fall, the students at BGU hold a huge and loud welcome-to-Be’er-Sheva street party in the vicinity of the University. All are welcome to attend the festivities.
An annual Beer Fest is generally held in October, as it is in Europe.
Come November every year, an “Atena” Womens’ Fitness & Sports Day is held outdoors in Be’er-Sheva’s Bell Park for women from the entire southern region. This free event includes aerobic sports, zumba, yoga, a 2-kilometer march and other healthy activities, as well as a guest artist performance.
Every year at the very end of August, a municipal memorial service is held in City Hall square, commemorating the murder of the 16 victims of Hamas terrorism in Be’er-Sheva, who died in suicidal bus bombings on August 31st, 2004. The monument (established in 2004) was designed by architect Ya’akov Cohen.