August 20, 2014

THE COMICE AGRICOLE

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According to our neighbour, Mme André, the Comice Agricole comes to Le Grand-Pressigny every six years.  We somehow managed to miss it last time so this year we were keen to get the full flavour of the event.

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By Friday the whole village had been decorated with paper flowers.  There must have been thousands of them and they looked fantastic.  No property was left unadorned, regardless of how dilapidated it was.

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Without a doubt the main event was the grand procession on Sunday afternoon.  This was to be at 3.30pm, preceded by a parade of Cadillacs.  The Cadillacs were late but after a while one turned up, lost, and was given directions to the start!

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There turned out to be only three Cadillacs and a trike in their parade but they were jolly and got the crowd interested.  More and more people arrived to fill the village square.

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The balloon seller turned up, and didn’t seem to have sold too many,  Except to one little boy……

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I was in danger of having the large white balloon in the corner of all of the photos I took of the parade.  After a while I pushed it gently out of the way of my camera.  Later on I batted it out of view and even later still I came close to pricking it with a pin….

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The Comice Agricole is a celebration of rural life in South Touraine and the theme for the procession this year was “La Forêt Tourangelle”.  Each village decorated a float (tractor) to represent their interpretation of the theme.  First to arrive was a brass band.

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All aspects of forest and country life were represented on the floats.  They were magnificently and flamboyantly decorated, in a woodland kind of way!

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Children played a huge part in the event, including a brave demonstration by this little one in a troop of dancers.

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The adults were having a pretty good time, too! And half way through the procession there was more music.

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Some of the floats had taken a huge amount of skill and effort to create, such as this one with a hunting horn, deer and dogs created from flower petals – not dissimilar to the well dressings I am used to in Derbyshire.

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I liked the name of this float – there used to be a sign at each end of the village showing that you were entering “Pressigny le Grand”.  Then one year I noticed they were no longer there.

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It was a fantastic event.  I loved the fact that all the floats were home made.  Not for us the glamorous dancing troops from all over France and the exotic displays from the colonies.  This was a pure and simple celebration of rural life in the villages within a few kilometres of Le Grand-Pressigny, just local people taking part and having a wonderful time.  I felt proud and moved to have been there.

I loved every minute…….apart from that balloon seller………

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for giving us a flavour of the event. We popped along on Saturday lunchtime intending to return when there was more action. Events took a different turn and we missed the parade on Sunday.

    See you in 2020!!

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  2. It is nice to see how many people participate in these events. The Comice rotates through all the communes in Sud Touraine, so everyone gets it every 6 years. There was obviously a call out for taxidermy (oh, and that sign you nicked last year, Jean-Pierre). I'm glad I'm not the parent of that little girl! I especially love the mushrooms -- my myco club is having an exhibition soon of mushrooms gathered in the forest -- I'm going to send the secretary your photo and say we all have to dress up like this :-) Beautiful young Percheron in the last photo too. I'm glad the event went well and everyone enjoyed it.

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    1. Susan, I love the way that man and horse appear to be perfectly in step!

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  3. "This was a pure and simple celebration of rural life in the villages "...
    well said, it was wonderful!
    So much effort had gone into it....
    and a lot of the tractors were decorated after they'd been at the "Concours de Labour" and the parade the following evening...
    vraiment magnifique!

    But, this one is the last...
    so local peoples are saying....
    however....
    they said that six years ago!!
    [And probably twelve and eighteen years past, too.]

    2020 will happen...
    somehow, people make the effort...
    they remember the fun from last time!
    After all...
    this is the 153rd Comice...
    for the next five, locals just need to provide a float.

    The flowers this time were spectacular...
    in fact, looking back at the pictures of 2008...
    all the decorations were better, and brighter!!

    Won't happen in 2020?
    That's just the exhaustion cutting in....

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  4. Lovely elegant Percheron!.
    People obviously put in loads of time and effort to make such superb floats; and how nice there was such a good turnout to see them!
    Hopefully it will be back 2020. It would be such a shame if this celebration of rural life didn't continue.

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  5. A lovely portrayal of the importance of these events in rural France and your photos are super. We find that up here in Normandy the fetes and comices are all home-made too and much the better for it. Sometimes a commune finds it doesn't have the volunteers and the fete falls into abeyance for a while, but they always seem to be revived eventually. I'm sure your turn will come again...

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  6. What a great day! I love everything about it, too... except for the balloon seller. And, having had the same experience here, I know exactly what you mean!

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