Join the French at Broadbeach to celebrate freedom
THIS year's Bonjour French Festival at Broadbeach will be tinged with sadness as it celebrates all things French.
The festival runs from November 11-13 and a memorial service will be held on the Sunday to mark a year since the terror attack on Paris, and to remember the victims of the Nice attack.
Organiser Audrey Mates-Bills said it would allow the French community to join with others on the Gold Coast in a stand for freedom and love. A condolences book will be available.
But the festival is a chance to celebrate life, and last year about 15,000 people joined in the fun, which includes a French market, with all the delicious French delicacies you would expect, live entertainment including an 18-piece jazz and blues big band all the way from New Caledonia, can-can dancing, a classic French car show, a fashion parade, a body art parade representing the world's French-speaking countries and the inaugural outdoor French film.
In an innovative first for this year's festival, a body art parade of about 30 people painted to represent the world's French-speaking countries, will kick off the big Veolia Rouge Nighton Saturday.
In another first, the inaugural outdoor French film night will feature Intouchables, a multi-award winning film about a wealthy quadriplegic and his ex-con carer from 7pm on Friday, November 11. It's gold coin donation entry and popcorn and French food will be available.
To mark the Ryder Cup in Paris, there will be a putting green, and to support the French love for soccer, try playing the game in a soccer bubble.
The kids aren't forgotten either, with their own activities corner including of course face-painting and a jumping castle.
Committee member Moe Jacques is one of the incredibly enthusiastic team which puts the festival together, and will be there from set-up till it's time to pull it all down again.
At 68, he says he's probably the oldest person involved.
"Age is just a number," he said cheerfully. "Being involved in this really keeps your brain going and it gets you motivated being around people who are so active and enthusiastic."
Moe's family is from Normandy and while he has been in Australia for many years, he says the festival "brings out all my Frenchness".
"It doesn't matter what part of France you are from, we are all one here," he said. "I love Paris. I feel at home there and it's the same at the French Festival - I feel at home."
While committee members are predominantly French, he encouraged anyone interested in volunteering to take part because it was simply such a wonderfully, positive community
Entry to the festival at Kurrawa Park, Broadbeach is $5 a day for adults (over 12) on Saturday (9am-10pm) and Sunday (10am-5pm).
Gold coin donation for movie entry Friday (5-10pm). For more, go to www.bonjourfrench festival.com.au.