Tuesday, September 1, 2009

C'est la Fete!

Yesterday evening, to celebrate our town's local saint and the end of the holidays, we went to the final night of the yearly four-day fair (or fete).The beautiful architecture of the town looks strange juxtaposed with the flashing fairground rides, but it's a lot of fun!
No point in turning up straight after work, as we used to in England.
Here, nothing really gets started until it gets dark...
We've learned that the hard way over the last four years.
Some of you may remember our local Saint, Julien. This unusual carving of him always seems appropriate at the spring Plant Fair. Well, the last weekend has been a chance to celebrate his patronage...
Before it got dark, we had a chance to see the glamorous band warming up - they didn't really get started until we were going home.
This is where the family headed, straight away... Ben and the boys had an enormous amount of luck on the 'shove penny' game last year, and even if they don't win, they love it...
The prizes were predictably less spectacular this year!
All the males in my family are good at shooting. 12 dead balloons between them - no rubbery sphere has a chance where they're concerned! I am glad it's only once a year...
This sad sight rather worried us - we are certain that it's one of my Hellhounds, still straying and now without his brother. He's much less confident than he was before. We don't really know what to do, but at least he was making himself well-known last night and we hope that officialdom will take an interest in him now. I'll keep you posted...
Finally, the rides were up and running and the boys went mad on the dodgems!
Now, what to eat at a French fair? Why is this familar children's character so prevalent?
That's because spun sugar (candy floss or cotton candy) is called 'Father's Beard' in French - literally, 'Barbe a Papa'! (Euch!)
Miam miam! (Yum yum!)
Oh, we love this little character!
And on your crepes, you get Bonne Maman jam...
At 9pm, we were instructed to gather in the Halle for a lantern-lit procession. Around 9.30pm, they started giving out lanterns. My friend Fan-fan was getting frustrated - she's not very French in this way...
About 15 minutes after that, with much (very careful) candle-lit jostling, we followed the local marching band down to the stadium. Om-pom-pom all the way!
The fete organisers were all identifiable in yellow, and the mayor was with them...
And off went the fireworks!
Rather drastically, the Vent d'Autan had started up - this is the wind that Blows the Wrong Way. You can see that this would be a drawback when a firework display has been carefully planned for the prevailing wind...
The fireworks exploded directly over us, and we were showered with ash.
The boys, in the front row, were quite excited about how much fell on them...
l
I am going to avoid the local opposition website, as it will be full of nastiness about how the mayor should have predicted the Vent d'Autan...
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Aside from local politics, we had a great evening! We were able to stay up late because school doesn't start immediately after the fair this year, which is a great change. Son 2 and I will cycle off to his Induction Day at College tomorrow morning (College is Secondary School or Junior High, or Middle School, basically), and Son 1 will restart in the year above him the following day. The lazy, hazy days of summer are over - Vive la Rentrée!

16 comments:

Mrs. Cozy Home said...

What a truly wonderful post!!! I feel like I was there, you always know the little details to capture that so illustrate the feel of the day!

Pomona said...

Lovely to see it all - a little window into your world!

Pomona x

Elizabethd said...

What a wonderful fete! Our local saint is celebrated with a Randonnee (long walk) and a lunch. No fireworks!

Itch2stitch.com said...

Thank you again for a glimpse into your life ther, which I love to read about! i just feel so sad for that poor hell hound though! Poor little mite. XXX Suzie.

kaybeecook said...

Hi!! Floss!
Thanks for the pretty pictures we've received the last few days. My children had all the Barbapapa books and we never knew that they were loosely based on one of our favorites, delicious Cotton Candy!! Thanks for the history, too. Someday, someday I will get back to France!

Sarah said...

Hello Floss! Now I understand your passions!! Now that fair looks like great fun for the kids. Love night time lights and fireworks - really adds to the excitement!

That dog really has a scary look about him. I wouldn't have been hanging around to take a photo of it! Your picture was a good resemblance. Looking forward to your giveaway!

Lucy Pursglove-Jones said...

Sounds like you all had a lovely evening, thanks for sharing your piccies :) x

Thecraftytrundler said...

You all certainly has a great evening!!Looks as thogh it's a fantastic fair to go to! The fireworks were a great way to end the evening!!

Sharon xx

Rose Charles said...

Hi Floss,

Scary that summer has come to an end so quickly isn't it!

The French Fete looking like such fun :-)
-even if you did all nearly get exploded with fireworks!

Rose XXX

Michela said...

Wow! I love that spun sugar's stall!
Thank you for sharing your lovely evening, your fair is quite similar to ours!
But please, keep you and your family away from those naughty hellhounds!

The Curious Cat said...

I love the name for the candy floss - how sweet! Looks like a terrific fair but I feel sad about the poor dog...as for firework ash, this summer a half burnt firework fell on my arm whilst I watched a display in Gibraltar that was a bit too close - it left a little burn...tis a good thing it wasn't near my eyes or anything...oh well...

Ashley said...

This looks like so much fun. I would love some candy floss. They call it cotton candy here, not great but more appetizing than fathers beard.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Sounds like a fun time especially for the children. I have never been a fan of cotton candy. That dog looks like he could be pretty mean.

LissyLou said...

I don't know how but i was following you, but i've just looked and it said i wasn't?!
So i've missed out on loads of your posts!!
I'm off for a catch up :)

summerfete said...

cest magnifique!

Melanie said...

What a lovely post Floss, such fun! xxx