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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hip Hip Hoorah!

I've been meaning to use that as a heading for an entry here for days. It's what Jean Roche, the creator and director of the festival, who also created the Auvergne folk dance group that performs her, says, at the end of each act of every show. Actually, he says the hip, hip, and the entire audience shouts, Hurrah, me included.

The festival is winding down, and I am starting to feel sad, as I knew I would. Some of the performing groups are already leaving. Two of our group members are leaving tomorrow as well, although the rest of us still have two days here to help with the knockdown. It is truly incredible how many people I have met here, including the group members, the performers, and the volunteers, of which there are hundreds. Because our group circulates through the festival and thru the various responsibilies we have probably gotten to know more people than most volunteers, who have responsibilities in just one area.

Right now I am at the Maison du Folklore, my home away from home. It's where I have access to the computer, at least at times, and also where the kitchen and restaurant are where the repas typique have been prepared and served. It's just a quick walk from our campground, whereas the festival site is a good 20 minute walk. It's comfortable walking it night or day, no safety concerns, except the darkness if I forget to take my flashlight.

A few minutes ago, there was some group singing and playing just outside the door here. I think it must have been the Hungarians, because I had seen them loading up their vehicles a little earlier. It's just typical of the whole event, people spontaneously, or at least informally, singing in the street, promanading in their costumes outside the festival grounds, etc. And, in the streets of the small downtown, music from the festival is played continuously, as it is on the festival grounds itself. I wonder if there are people in the town that aren't interested, that don't participate in the festival at all. From the attendance and the people I've talked to, it sure seems like most people do participate. There was certainly a large crowd at the parade. There is another parade tonite, and then a Night of the Spirits at a local park, at midnight. It had been postponed from earlier in the week because of heavy rain and thunderstorms, which hopefully won't materialize tonight. We have had an incredible amount of rain, and an incredible change in the weather, really from hour to hour many days. So we've all gotten soaked at times, and some people's tents have taken in water, but luckily, not mine. The festival grounds were very muddy last night, and slippery, and I was worried about people falling. Including myself, one fall per festival is enough.

The Night of the Spirits, tonite, involves only two groups, the South Africans and the two Yanomamo Venezuela shaman boys. Should be interesting. I talked to the director of the South Africans, with whom I've become quite friendly. He says they are performing some type of initiation ritual.

Well, have to go now, time for some more delicous French cafeteria food! I hope to get back to the computer tomorrow to relate some of the day's adventures, and some of what's still to come tonite.

Back soon.

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