I'm so glad it was Hubster and not me who got stuck drinking can after can of warm Kronenbourg at the Fête Paysan yesterday. Standing around on a cool September evening, trying to decipher what on earth a toothless farmer from the neighbouring department is trying to tell him in a version of French that he's never heard before was something I was glad I missed.
Luckily for Hubster, one of our good friends who was also at the beer tent said she wasn't able to understand said farmer either. Which made Hubster feel much better since she's French, has been all her life, and is married to a farmer.
The Fête Paysan in and of itself, is fun. Along the streets of the village, there are local artisans and people selling arts and crafts or produce, including garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, and courgettes. Had I known, I might have set a stand up myself to hock these gargantuan courgettes I keep growing. There is only so much ratatouille one can eat in the summer before going insane.
During the Fête, there is also an area where the local farmers pull out all their really, really old tractors and farming equipment to show everyone how things used to be done. It was fascinating to watch one farmer's two draft horses work a turnstile to grind wheat. When the horses took a break, it took Mini-Husband and about 4 or 5 of his buddies from school to grind about half of what the horses had done.
There was a parade celebrating the rural jobs that used to exist around here. Each hamlet and the village were represented by a group of kids and parents who dressed up in the various themes. There were milkmaids, cobblers, a cart driven by oxen, and a group of sheep with it's shepherdess. (The "sheep" being the kids from the village. Except for The Princess who didn't want to be a sheep because she thinks sheep are stinky.)
All in all, this is one of my favourite festivals during the year. Meandering our little streets, greeting practically everyone with a bisou (though maybe not that toothless guy,) just enjoying the evening. It's a chance to look at the cultural past of the Auvergne as well as catching up with neighbours after the long summer holidays.
I still marvel at how our very American sounding children have this as part of their cultural tapestry. That this type of experience is part of them and who they will become.
The lucky sods.