LEMON FESTIVAL BACKSTAGE
The Fête du Citron®’ s preparations begins several months before.
It mobilizes over 300 people, who devote it 20.000 hours of work!
Let’s have a look at the preparations with Alain Delaboudinière,
the hub of the Gardens of the Town.
Models in a metal “skeleton” >>>
The different steps of the manifestation are perfectly synchronised. Once decided the adopted models, the making of the metallic structure is committed to a metallurgic enterprise of Menton: Bonsignore Olivetta has acquired an incredible savoir-faire in making these models, because he does them since 30 years! “The most difficult thing is to realize steel structures that have to be both solid to bear the weight of the fruits – every parade float weights from 3 to 4 tons - and supple to marry the movement”, says Robert Bonsignore. “We use sweet steel. And all in all we need more or less 15 tons! The Fête du Citron® mobilizes 3 or 4 persons of my enterprise for 5 months. This kind of work thrills us. It’s my son Eric who has taken my place. We are proud of our savoir-faire, which a few years ago allowed us to get the congratulation of the Disney team, which is considered as very demanding.” Since December, the Technical Centre of the Municipality assisted by the Fire Department is in charge of the building of the platforms of the parade, and of the trestle bridges linking the two parts of the Biovès garden. They will be used also for the decoration of the Christmas festivals.
The “fruitage” of the motives and the parade floats >>>
The service team of the Gardens of the Town takes care of gathering the box wood that will be used to draw the outlines of the motives. “We work together with the ONF (Forests National Office) which cuts them in the forest”, says Alain Delaboudinière. We look for them on the mountains and in the hinterland. 70 m3 of wood box are plaited in the shape of garlands. Parade floats and motives are covered with gratings. Then lemons and oranges are attached to them with yellow and orange rubbers, for them to be discreet. “Before we were using iron wire. It’s a gardener who had the idea of using rubbers because they damage less the fruits.” To cover 1m2 of grating, we need 30 kg of fruits, which means more or less 200 oranges and lemons! The whole of the fruits - 130 tons – is imported from Spain. They arrive in Menton by the end of January and start to be placed from the 2nf of February. The rubbers we use come from Taiwan. We hardly need 500000! During the 15 days of the Fête du Citron®, 80 people are mobilized. The day before the inauguration, we substitute the ruined fruits. During the festival, we change every day the rotten fruits: “We replace more or les 4/5 tons of fruits. We have to place a thin grating around the fruits on the bottom of the floats in order to avoid the temptation of pulling them away as they pass!”
From a festival to the other >>>
The festival is over, but the Gardens service team has still something to do: “We have to dismantle everything in 4 days. It’s a bit sad to disassemble something we took so long to build! We have to plant the grass and the plantations of the Biovès gardens again.” After the manifestation, the fruits still in good condition are sold for a cheap price in front of the Europe Palace, with great pleasure of the marmalade, syrup and orange wine lovers…
(source : dossier de presse de l'Office du Tourisme de Menton)