Two rows of masked figures brandishing bell-belts and torches marched down Pernik’s pedestrian boulevard as tourists and journalists leapt away from the flames. It was a Friday in late January, unseasonably warm but still chilly and damp with fog. The torchbearers passed a collection of food booths, many with a smattering of tables and chairs outside, which sold snacks and meals like döner, pochivki (fried donuts), crepes, sausages, and cotton candy. They did not stop at a small stage that materialized on their left, but instead continued to weave through the narrow aisle left between sellers of tchotchkes – miniature masked kukeri figurines, Bulgarian flags, cheap imitation musical instruments, balloons, knives with ornate wooden handles, candles, pink stuffed dogs that bark and walk, you name it. The final destination was a large stage set up in front of the municipal building, where the opening ceremony for the 25th International Festival of Masquerade Games “Surva” took place.