The Festival du Citron Festival in Menton is an annual event that celebrates the oranges and lemons grown in the region close to the Italian border. It is a truly unusual event that is certainly worth the visit. My girlfriend and I attended this year and passed a very enjoyable time in the Lemon Garden, which included scores of sculptures crafted from lemons and oranges depicting various regions of France.
The festival also includes a parade that features floats bedecked in oranges and lemons. We had opted to give the parade a miss as admittance was a rather steep 18Euros. However, we were lucky enough to find an attendant who was letting people slip in for the last hour free f charge. Therefore, we were able to enjoy a taste of what the parade had to offer. Whilst it was not as bitter as the lemons on show, we were glad we had not paid to see it.
The parade had about seven or eight large floats decorated in lemons that did a circuit of the town. These did not look bad. However, much of their effect was reduced by the large and undecorated 4x4s that pulled them around. The best of these was a large horse that stood about 30m in height. The rest, though, were rather lame in nature. There was a small house and a small sports themed one. Even though they were quite pretty, they induced little more than a shrug of the shoulders.
Aside from the lemons the rest of the parade was bizarre. There were two or three contingents of Brazillian style dancing girls. This would have been fantastic had (1) the weather been a little warmer and (2) They were actually Brazilian. As it was, the girls did not really seem to know too much about what they were doing and their extravagant costumes were let down by some rather poor dancing. As it was a family event, the skimpy costumes also seemed massively out of place and had several parents shielding their childrens' eyes. Possibly the highlight of the parade – for me at least – was a troupe of performers on stilts. There was a group dressed in traditional countryside costume who walked through the town. There were also a series of five women on top of huge stilts who were wheeled along the promenade.
As we got into the parade for nothing, I was not too disheartened by its rather random and unprofessional nature. However, if I had splurged 18Euros on a ticket, I would have been massively disappointed.