Fête de la Carotte - Annual Carrot Festival  - Croissy sur Seine - September 2007

 

The Carrot Festival held in Croissy sur Seine is one of the oldest in existence, locals put a date of 1860 when the event first occurred,  and the village has honoured its vegetable growing for over 200 years!

A parade has always been led by a statue of Saint Fiacre, the patron saint of vegetable growers.   Sadly the commercial growing of vegetables has long gone and the land taken up by housing.

John received a warm and hearty welcome from the townsfolk of Croissy and neighbouring Chatou and Le Vesinet. 

A tradition since 1860!

At the end of the 18th century, Croissy discovered a vocation for itself as a gardening village located 12 kilometers from the main food markets of Paris (the main one in Paris is known as Les Halles). Thanks to a predominantly sandy terrain, a plain which is sheltered from the western winds, and underlying ground water (possibly an aquifer), the village very rapidly became the queen of the markets - and remained so until the 1970’s.  It gained a reputation for her famous vegetables used in making pot-au-feu, of which the carrot was of superior quality.

In 1860, the first community festival of Croissy was held. With the rapid development of market gardening, Croissy became the natural choice for the festival of the carrot. The queen of the markets has therefore been celebrated for nearly 150 years in Croissy every second weekend of September.

The events start in earnest with an outdoor movie show.  The next evening there is a candlelit procession led by a drum band and departing from three locations and ending up in the park where the 1000's of people gathered to be thrilled by a magical son et lumiere firework show.

Those with a little more energy boogied the night away at a Salsa dance party.

Sunday morning witnessed the preparations for the parade outside the Town Hall where families gathered together to show off this years carrot creations.  To help sustain the paraders a light buffet meal and drinks were served, compliments of the Mayor.

Finally it was time, and the owners of the floats and participants excitedly waited for the drum band to lead the way, following the traditional barrow of vegetables and the statue of St. Fiacre. The route to the park was about 2K and all the kids did really well in the 80 degree temperatures.

On arrival at the park the Mayor and Deputy Mayor for Culture presented prizes to the 4 best exhibits. All the kids were treated to a "lucky dip" of toys and games.

Then the feast of beef and carrots was consumed in large quantities.

A Fete Foraine (fun fair), was being held in an adjacent park and many of the families treated their children (and themselves!) to the fun of the merry go rounds.

Meanwhile the park was encircled with displays of information of all the local associations as the adults signed up for several winter activities.

Midway during the afternoon, the Mayor made several announcements and presented awards to local volunteers and groups. John was presented with a medal of honour by the Mayor and gave a short speech, ending with the message "Vive La Carrotte!"

This truly was a wonderful day out for young and old and everyone looked happy, well behaved and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I know of at least one of the participants who slept really well that night!! - Monsieur Le Carrotte.

Here are some examples of all the fun we had:

The Festival Starts with a bang, or two!

 

Monsieur Maire meets Mr Carrot  .. and later presents the town medal

 

Some of the wonderful carrot craft in the parade

 

 

The Parade arrives and judging commences

 

 

 

 

More photos here at the Croissy sur Seine web site.


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