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Fête du Citron

Submitted by on February 12, 2012 – 12:16 amNo Comment

If life hands you lemons, make lemonade — or, in the case of Menton, France, stage a festival!

This year is the 79th for the annual Fête du Citron, which runs from February 17, 2012, to March 7, 2012.

The event hosts vibrant parades of citrus fruits, elaborate sculptures made of lemons and oranges, exceptional spectacles and more.

Anybody can do a parade float with flowers, but Menton uses lemons, oranges and more. To celebrate the regions of France (this year’s theme), citrus sculptures will depict different aspects of the country, such as an Eiffel Tower for Paris. Parade floats will depict the regions as well, illustrating Burgundy as an escargot, and highlighting creole cuisine and culture from the overseas regions of France.

· Golden Citrus Parade (Sunday afternoons on February 19, 26 and March 4, 2012): Floats adorned in golden fruits will be paraded down the streets, showering the public in confetti and performing live marching band music.

· Moonlit Parade (Thursday nights on February 23 and March 1): As soon as twilight and calm begin to engulf the town, the celebration reawakens with an explosion of drumbeats, fireworks, dancing, and extravagant parade floats along the coast on the Promenade du Soleil.

· Citrus Exhibition (Open daily): The Biovès Gardens will exhibit their traditional display of giant sculptures constructed out of nearly 15 tons of yellow and orange citrus fruits – on select evenings, the gardens will transform into a festive light display, illuminating the sculptures with music and spectacles.

Several varieties of lemons are grown in the Menton region, including Santa Theresa, Villafranca, Eureka. The shape is more elliptical than round with a bright yellow color. It is also characterized by very fructiferous branches bearing up to fifteen fruits, while there are less than five to a branch on most lemon trees.

The citrus collection at the Palais Carnolès consists of over 100 different varieties of fruit (11 different kinds of lemon, 6 of citron, 20 of orange and 8 of lime, as well as manderines, clementines, kumquats, bergamots, Seville oranges, grapefruits, and pomelos) spread out over 340 trees. Such biodiversity has led the Palais Carnolès’ citrus collection to be recongised by the CCVS (Conservatory of Specialized Vegetable Collections — “collection agréée”) and the Ministry of Culture (“Jardin Remarquable”).”

For more information on visiting Menton, go online.

(Photo courtesy of Fête du Citron)

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