Yesterday's Children's Day went off well. About 200 Disney princesses mustered up in Guardian Angel Square, accompanied by assorted toddler cuddly toys and over-excited and over-armed Spidermen. The procession was headed by the Carnival King and Queen (the latter more usually performing the vital role of fish-seller to discerning Cannobiese), the town band and an unidentifiable six-foot-tall purple-plush animal. It proceeded (as processions do) with much disruption of international through-traffic with Switzerland, and very little this year in the way of flying bon-bons - we are, after all, in an economic depression.
There was no sign of the depression, however, in the Grand Carnival Marquee. At first there was no sign of anything, it being so dark inside. But there was very loud music. Rather than thinking about the delicacy of our children's ears, the parents of the paese trundled in without hesitation like Eloi to the Morlock dungeons. There we let the assorted little monsters loose, plied them with Fanta (or Coke, or some other E-filled concoction) to increase their energy levels and stood about drinking coffee, gossiping and fondly gazing at the mayhem that ensued. All to a soundtrack at decibels just above comfort-level that included 'Happy Days', the 'Birdie Song', 'The Maccarena' and Enrique Iglesias (various).
In due course the stage was invaded by posing princesses, the floor was slick with confetti and silly string, the roof of the marquee was populated by balloon elephants, dolphins, motorbikes and horses (with associated toddlers weeping below), and the Spidermen were attempting to pull the tail off an unidentifiable six-foot-tall purple-plush animal.
The kids from Carmine exited shortly afterwards, blinking into the daylight, to a scene not unlike 1970s Beirut on a bad day. The pre-teens were armed with a terrifying amount of gunpowder in the form of firecrackers, and the creative use of aerosol string, shaving foam and paint, had rendered them unidentifiable even to their own mothers (all of whom were, as tradition dictates, absent).
Mama was the only person brave enough to park the car in Guardian Angel Square, perhaps because the attentions of the town's minors would go unnoticed on the World's-Most-Battered Panda. We beat our tactical retreat in good order, and made a Hansel & Gretel trail of confetti all the way up the hill home.
Enquiries as to the welfare of the unidentifiable six-foot-tall purple-plush animal prove inconclusive at this time.
Text copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008, 2009. All rights reserved. Please ask first.