Since 1987 the famous Renaissance Festival has been organised by the Municipality of Rethymno each summer. Due to the fact that both the architecture and literature of the Renaissance have worked as a pedestal for the development of the town of Rethymno, it seemed only natural that the town should become the main sponsor of a variety of manifestations aiming at the promotion of both the Cretan and European Renaissance. Over the course of the years all the works of Cretan playwrights have been performed as well as a large variety of plays by Shakespeare, Moliere, Goldoni and others. Furthermore musicians from all over the world came to Rethymno to perform a wide range of music, starting from the period of the Renaissance to modern times.
The town of Rethymno organises the grandest carnival on the island of Crete and one of the most impressive of Greece. It is worth mentioning that apart from the magnificent parade various other events take place in the framework of the carnival festivities. On Shrove Thursday a street party is organised on Platano Square and at the Church of Mikri Panaghia including live music for everyone's taste, as well as titbits and wine. All the locals look forward to the event, since during the last years it has developed into the largest open-air party the town has even known.
On the Sunday before the great parade a party is organised for the participating groups, who not only appear dressed up with costumes but they also perform sketches, which the members of each group have written and which refer to the subject they have chosen for the parade. Of course the party, which includes plenty of food, wine and dancing, continues up until the early hours of the morning
The most popular organisation in respect of participation is the Treasure Hunt of Rethymno. It is the favourite game of the locals of all ages and takes place two weeks before Carnival. During this marathon game, which lasts for one day, your brain, your body and your nerves are tested. The grade of difficulty has reached an unbelievable level, which makes it almost impossible for somebody who is not initiated to take part. However, it is a great experience to watch a group in action. The Treasure Hunt helped the young people of Rethymno to achieve a profound knowledge of the town's history, to come close to its monuments and to trace every single detail of historical periods.
In the coolness of the Municipal Garden, the "Travelling Club" of Rethymno organises the Cretan Wine Festival each summer. A rich programme including traditional Cretan and Greek folklore music groups is offered, thus illustrating the Greek way of entertainment every evening to the large number of local and foreign visitors.