Charlie’s yearly visit is here and what a busy, exciting and wonderful time we are having. He has grown up so much, he’s now a young man and together with his friend Noah we have all shared a very special ten days. It has been so special that I would like to share the events with you but feel it is too long for one article, so I am going to do it in three parts, this is part one – all meant for coffee time reading, so I hope you enjoy.
They have been both keen and competent helping Richard and Gene pulling large pieces of wood from the forest and we have even planted the seeds of them coming over and working with us for a year once they finish their college courses. What a treat for me that will be.
Hard work prevailed all week but now the weekend is here. So when we work hard we play hard and this certainly is the weekend for that and it started in earnest at 8.30pm on Friday, when winded our way down to Borgo a Mozzano certainly the biggest festival gathering in the valley and marketed as The Largest Halloween Festival in Europe.
The search for a parking space certainly indicated a lot of people, finding a parking space took about twenty minutes, with cars lining both sides of the road in all directions as around 15,000 people (I have guessed this figure they are not official it could have been way more!*) of all ages descended on this small hilltop Tuscan Village.
What a night – WOW. Where to start? Not only were the costumes great, most people having made some kind of effort, from the most elaborate and expensive costumes down to the flashing head bands. It was a night when you could wear anything you just would have fitted in. Rich and I of course to the embarrassment of the boys dressed up. Yes, you got it . Me as a witch (although I have to say I didn’t look much different than usual!) Rich as the grim reaper or was it Ossie Osbourne – scary which ever one it was.
Every which way you went their was a feast of sights and music creating magic throughout the whole evening a crescendo of delights leading up to the walk to the bridge and the grand finale firework display. All evening there were lots of awhs, wows, and aahs.
There were Marching Bands, one of which was a group of drummers and they gave such a high energy, high octane performance that we all were mesmerized and taken into the moment with them, rocking and pumping to the music, the sound of the bass reverberating through to the very core. Stilted performers dressed as strange mythical creatures of the night, performing with torches of fire, although it was quite funny when one of them bent over to help a college and his own horn caught on fire, much to the consternation of the whole crowd, but it was easily and swiftly extinguished.
By now we were being taken along by the crowd and as we pass each band the whole danced in time to the music, like a massive snake elegantly slithering through the streets and alleyways.
We managed to draw ourselves away and before the queues were too long we entered the “House of Horrors”, each area made up of actors enacting the gruesome scenes from all of our favorite horror films, like Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist to name but two. The makeup was realistic and occasionally they might reach out and touch you in an airy kind of way.
But for me the costume and personality of the night was “Chucky” – do you remember him? The horrible little doll who came to life. The costume was amazing and what looked like a real chainsaw with the blade secured, he was running around the crowds revving up the motor. Still one of the scariest and disturbing sights even to this day. But the plastic face was so realistic with that evil grin and eyes.
The time flew and it wasn’t long before we were all in awe as we looked skywards, the firework display was spectacular, not only lighting up the sky but with the added attraction of the reflections in the river and it went on for at least half an hour – must have cost a fortune.
Our entrance fee was 10 Euros, we brought a beer and a wine (the queues for the food and drink were very long!), so what value for money, all of this entertainment for under 20 Euros – a bargain.
Being English we finished the night at the Kebab shop in Fornaci Di Barga (which we were surprised was still open at 2am in the morning) and had one of those burgers you know you will regret in the morning.
But if you have never been to the festival before check out their website and its worth a visit at least once, I promise it will be a night you will never forget.
Article by Sensone
*official figures estimate between 15,000 – 20,000 visitors to the event this year.