It’s not as exciting as running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. It doesn’t have the high seriousness of a religious procession (or a funeral march) in Italy. And it certainly doesn’t have the polished professionalism of a North American event like the Rose Bowl parade in California.
But the Sunday parade in Daglan is unique, wacky, involving and fun — certainly the highlight of our annual four-day Fête de la Saint Louis. Much of the community is involved behind the scenes, and the parade attracts not only the locals but tourists from all over. A Belgian couple we met this past weekend said they had never seen anything like it, anywhere in Europe.
So here’s a look at some of the entries in this year’s parade, where the theme was les civilisations.
I begin with the obvious — the marching band at the front of the parade:
I suspected that at least one entry would feature the Roman Empire, and of course that entry appeared near the front of the parade, like this:
A small African village scene was part of the action, and perhaps the best part of this float were the two chickens that were pecking away in front of the mud hut (it appeared that no poultry was harmed in the making of this float):
As the African entry passed, I spotted a leopard up in the tree at the rear of the float. I’m confident it was just a stuffed toy, but take a close look:
The Chinese float was notable because of the young people on it, who busily sprayed the crowd with water. Ancient Chinese tradition? Not sure, but here’s the float:
My favourite entry in the parade was this Viking ship:
And here’s a closer look at some of the Vikings in the boat:
The Native American civilization was another group represented, and here’s that entry:
La Gaul was another entry, representing the region that has become the France we know and love. Here’s one of the Gauloise (or is that a cigarette?) on the float:
Aside from the Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt simply had to be part of our parade, and of course it was. Here comes the Egyptian entry, pulled by slaves (including one who looked a fair bit like Dustin Hoffman) and led by a credible Pharaoh:
On closer inspection, Pharaoh turned out to be Pascal Dussol, Daglan’s popular Mayor. (Last year, he was the Michelin Man in the parade, when the theme was the history of the automobile.) Here he is with a couple of Daglanaise, including my wife Jan, in the striped shirt:
It is notable that the parade actually makes two passes through the village on Sunday afternoon — one time going north (towards St. Cybranet) and the other returning to the south (towards St. Pompon). The difference seems to be a slight increase in the wackiness quotient, possibly caused by the ingestion of beer along the way. As just one example, here’s a Viking who has decided to ride on the front of the tractor pulling his boat:
How can the parade organizers possibly come up with a grander theme than Civilization? I have no idea. But just wait until next year.