History comes alive at Akaroa's FrenchFest

One of the main attractions at FrenchFest will be The Landing, a theatrical re enactment that...
One of the main attractions at FrenchFest will be The Landing, a theatrical re enactment that tells the stories of Banks Peninsula settlers
Akaroa event co-ordinator Jane Scribner previews one of the town’s biggest celebrations, FrenchFest, which will run from October 11-13​​​​​​

It is just one month until residents and visitors can immerse themselves in French culture, history, entertainment and romance at Akaroa’s unique FrenchFest.

A traditional Maori powhiri will open the festival on Friday. Then settle in and relax with some seaside dining on Beach Rd and watch the waterfront come alive with entertainment and music, featuring the bands Mundi and Dangerbaby.

Early on Saturday morning, watch the theatrical history re-enactment of The Landing on the main beach.

It will tell the history and stories of the many and varied intrepid souls who travelled far and wide to make Banks Peninsula their home. It portrays the lead up to the arrival of The Comte de Paris in 1840, bringing 59 French and German settlers to Akaroa.

Stories are told of these first encounters; of local iwi, the whalers, trading sailors and the first farmers who set up in Akaroa.

The characters will be played by local community members, with some playing their own ancestors. They will tell these stories in a lively, historically accurate, fun, immersive and audience inclusive way.

Aided by the professional support of actors Michael Hurst, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Nathan Bonner and The Wellington Sea Shanty Society, this performance was widely acclaimed as “the best ever” in 2017.

The Landing will be followed by a parade to the Akaroa Recreation Ground.

The official part of the programme will commence with speeches and the official flag-raising before Le Jour du Marché (Market Day) will be held with French-inspired stalls, games, food, entertainment and live music all day.

Iconic events like the Waiters’ Race and Cock Crowing competition will delight.

On Saturday evening, there will be a ticketed cabaret which is not to be missed. Enjoy an incredible array of music and entertainment with an enchanting French flavour all night. Delight in the thrilling performances from Bonita Danger Doll, Jason Kerrison,

The Wellington Sea Shanty Society, Nicola Són (the most Brazilian of the French bands all the way from France), Corner Sounds and more.

Sunday will see a Circotica Circus workshop for the children, plus a circus performance to close FrenchFest 2019.

•For more information, visit www.FrenchFest.co.nz


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