Thursday, September 13

Venetian Mask Festival in Ludwigsburg

We had a gorgeous Saturday last weekend and while we had a lot of chores to be done, I just couldn't bare the thought of not going out to enjoy the sunshine. But as my family likes to joke, "I got hot!" Ryan had tried to warn me it was going to be hot out there, but I was determined - so off we went!

The Venetian Mask Festival happens every other year in the center of old town in Ludwigsburg, not very far from our where our ward meets. We've been up here a couple times - once on a date night for their Christmas Market and also once with the kids to enjoy the grand palace that was built by royals on the site of their hunting lodge. They made their own Versailles with beautiful gardens and it's a lot of fun. It was these royals who brought the festival here from Venice back in 1768 and then it was reintroduced almost 20 years ago. I was itching to see ornate costumes and boy did we! Plus every 30 minutes a new act would begin on one of the many stages around the square. Some of the performers we saw included a colorful group that danced on stilts, an improv comedy troupe, a Gypsy-like novelty  acts, acrobatics, and some inventive mimes. I can only imagine what Carnivale in Venice would have been like in it's hey day!

So the costumes were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! It was so odd to find myself staring unabashedly and having it be welcomed! Those costumed readily stopped and posed if they noticed you raise your camera. Very nice of them, but also just odd! I don't like not being able to see people's eyes, it kind of creeps me out. Here's some of the variety we saw, some with masks, others simply in period costumes or modern creations.

Smartest costume given the heat of the day!
This guy loved all the attention!

All those peacock feathers were mesmerizing to me! 

These soldiers really enjoyed being showmen! 

The deer stag on her headpiece is the symbol of the region's royals.
On their coat of arms is three stag horns. This area was royal hunting grounds.

Venice is famous for its lacework like that found on this parasol. I love this costume because of her Middle Eastern mask with Western European frock and parasol. It's all very Venetian to me with Venice's medieval position as the  East-West trading crossroads. Venice had a thriving cottage lace industry for centuries which Western European royalty took note of and brought to areas in northern France and Belgium. The regions' styles are different, but it's all very beautiful yet a dying craft. Parasols, delicate little fans, handkerchiefs, and all manner of personal items and linens are big sellers on one of the Venetian islands. At least that's what I understand and remember ;)
This gal was a mime and at one point got off her box and gave Ryan a hard time about having exposed leg. He was wearing shorts and white socks with his shoes. Ryan got a good kick out of that! They say you can spot an American anywhere in Europe because they'll be wearing white socks. :) 

I got McKay and Morgan to join me on this delightful couch.
They were a bit freaked out by it all but have talked about it a lot since.  

Now lest you think this was a glorious adventure with the kids, it wasn't. We'd planned to meet up with one of Easton's best friends and his family but it just didn't come together. Easton made it his duty to make sure I heard him whine the whole time about the injustice of being dragged to an event only interesting to adults. It was lovely. We did run into a different school friend at this shipwreck sandpit in the square so there was some fun to be had.

McKay is in side this barrel being rolled. He loved it! 

There were these big balloons being bounced around the festival and the kids pounced on one. They hit it around, chased it with wreckless abandon and I even had to buy my first beer because of it. No, the outing didn't drive me to drink - the kids knocked a man's tall beer into his lap so we needed to replace it. Thank goodness he was already in a happy place and his replacement arrived shortly.

The soldier created this photo op. Easton was not thrilled at the idea of him popping the balloon and took some serious convincing to participate. Funny, literal kid!

See Easton, it wasn't a total wash! I'd do it again in two years time if we're around, but perhaps as a date night! Sure would be awesome to see those performers' acts at night!