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The 2009 Creances Carrot Festival - Fete de la Carotte

8 August 2009

The Carrot Festival held in Creances, Normandy had its 19th Festival in 2009. The Carrot Museum made the effort to go along and witness this unique carrot celebration.

The Schedule of events flier (in French) is here.  The Fete programme is here.

It is quite a small event and the townsfolk have allowed the huge car boot (garage sale) take over the main purpose of the Fete de la Carotte.  So much so that even the parade of town elders struggle to get through the crowds who are busy bagging bargains. Not that the Carrot Museum saw many! and no one selling anything carroty apart from the official carrot growers stand selling hats and aprons.

Members of the Syndicat prepare to march through the crowds

The morning commences with a series of speeches welcoming several dignitaries and the assembling of the town elders in their "carrot" uniforms of red coats and green caps accompanied by some labourers dressed in their old fashioned working clothes and carrying various farming implements.  Following several pretty boring speeches the carrot men and associated labourers sing the town song and then parade down the main street through the hundreds of market sellers, preceded by the Creances Carrot Lorry. The leading person carries a tray showing the finest of the crop.

John inspecting the Carrot lorry One of the displays hoping for a prize

Later in the day yet more speeches and the presentation of medals and certificates to various deserving people and the selection of the best carrot displays. Not a large choice as there were only a few!

Then it's off to lunch for the main people, and everyone either eats, drinks or shops.

The afternoon provides another dull affair with (yes!) more speeches and the drawing of several tombola tickets. As you can probably ascertain the Carrot Museum was not too impressed with this Carrot Festival, which I believe leads you to the impression that it is an ages old tradition, with the costumes and regalia, when in fact it is only the 19th Festival! - they have been growing carrots in this area since the 19th century. Also the town holds the only AOC for carrots  - Créances was granted the only Appelation d'origine for carrots. Go into any supermarket and you will see French carrots marked either "Origine France" or "Origine Créances".

More examples of the displays in the podium area

The Fete quietly dies as the final tombola draws are made and the natives appear to become restless and drift away, many not bothering to claim their prizes. As the event draws to a close several members of the public start to steal the carrot displays and whole carrots surrounding the displays, not in a sense of tradition as clearly the Syndicat de Producteurs did not approve!  and it all dwindles away into a rather embarrassing and unnecessary fracas.

So come on Creances, make more of it and celebrate the carrot in style, with a little panache and vigour, smattered with good citizenship.

A local farmer plies his wares The medal worn by the officials
 

The growing fields in Creances - notice the very sandy conditions

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