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Vive le Carnaval!

-Robert Hansen, Rose Festival President

Janie and I just returned from a vacation in Nice, France--a vacation of many memories! Prior to leaving town, I had a chance to contact Annie Sidro (1998 International Festivals & Events Association Hall of Fame Inductee), an advisor to the Carnaval de Nice with a long family history (float building and designing since 1887). What I thought was going to be a brief meeting in France turned out to be a lot more! Annie is the President of an organization called Carnaval Sans Frontieres (Carnival Without Boundaries).
One of the most picturesque places on the planet

Within hours of arriving in Nice, there was a call to our apartment from Annie wanting to come over to talk to us about our vacation and schedule. We met with Annie our first day, and immediately we had a new friend! Prior to our arrival, Annie had arranged for me to meet with the Vice Mayor of Nice, the Director of Tourism for Nice, the press service supervisor for the office of tourism, and a float designer and builder for the Carnaval de Nice!

Thanks to the Rose Festival’s membership in the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA), I was able to make this connection and share information about the Rose Festival, and most importantly learn about another carnival. (The Rose Festival started out as the 'Rose Carnival' back in 1907!) We are not alone out there in the festival and carnival business. And we are not limited to our region, state or country. There are events all around the world similar to ours where we have the opportunity to learn from.

I was treated like a real VIP in Nice

It was very clear in my meeting with the Vice Mayor of Nice, Rudy Salles, and the Director of Tourism, Denis Zanon, that they have an interest in our festival, and they want us to learn more about the Carnaval de Nice. During my meeting with the Vice Mayor, he invited me to return to Nice for Carnaval with other festival and/or city representatives, so that we can begin building a relationship between our two festivals. They even extended an invitation to bring our queen, so she could ride on one of their floats!

Here is a little bit of trivia that links the Carnaval de Nice with Oregon. Did you know one of the float designers for the Carnaval lives in the Portland area? Chad Crowe has had five designs used in past Carnavals. Annie told me the Carnaval float committee has chosen two of Chad’s designs to use in the 2011. Quite an honor!

Janie, me and friends--on the right are Annie and Cedric

The floats are a story in themselves; they are HUGE! All are built in the same float barn (referred to as the Carnaval House, in Nice). In the 2010 Carnaval de Nice, there were 10 designers and 20 floats--all very creative and different! We had the opportunity to meet one of the float designers, Cedric Pignataro, who also builds floats. Cedric is a fourth generation Carnavalier and has done work for Disney Paris. Cedric designed the 'King' float for the Carnaval in 2010, a great compliment.

What an amazing setting for the Jazz Festival!

Not only did Annie arrange all of these meetings for me, she was also a great tour guide. She took Janie and me to the Juan les Pin Jazz Festival, the Nice Jazz Festival (Pink Martini was there), a midnight drive to Monaco and Monte Carlo, a 2:00am visit to Prince Albert’s Palace (he didn’t wake up for us), and she made sure we had everything we needed. Thanks to the festival industry, our personal vacation was enhanced by making new friends and gaining new knowledge about another outstanding carnival and festival. We hope that the personal contacts we have made lead to an ongoing relationship between our two festivals.

I started to look a little French, didn't I?

But, most importantly, we learned through Annie, that "a carnival is a world sans frontiers, without boundaries of class, national origin, language, wealth or occupation; a world which unites all in a common creative expression."


Aug. 18th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
Re: Wow!
Thanks, Jessica!