- Title: BELGIUM: Brussels celebrates carnival with its first balloon parade
- Date: 2nd March 2009
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) MATEO, 10 YEARS OLD, SAYING "I liked the Manneken Pis one, and also the crocodile. I like also the Spirou, I think I loved all of them." PEOPLE HOLDING THE MANNEKEN PIS BALLOON MARCHING IN CIRCLE MANNEKEN PIS BALLOON REVOLVING CHILDREN DANCING SPIROU CHARACTER BALLOON SEATED ON A TRUCK PASSING BY SPECTATORS LOOKING AT THE PARADE (SOUNDBITE) (French) ALICIA, 6 YEARS OLD, SAYING: (ANSWERING THE QUESTION : WHAT DID YOU PREFER?) "The balloons and the music, it was really nice, I think." BIG GREEN FISH BALLOON FLOATING IN FRONT OF THE BUILDINGS PEOPLE LOOKING OP TO THE BALLOONS RED DOG AND PUPPET MOVING UP AND DOWN IN THE AIR BALLOON PARADE GOING AWAY HEAD OF THE CAT BALLOON IN THE CROWD
- Embargoed: 17th March 2009 12:00
- Location: Belgium
- Country: Belgium
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Reuters ID: LVA4IIFVMR4XSY2QXEDH4NM8I6TO
- Story Text: Nearly 30,000 spectators attended Brussels' first balloon parade on Saturday (February 28).
Inspired by New York balloon parades, like Macy's on Thanksgiving Day, folklore groups, police and fire brigades paraded to the sounds of marching bands.
Huge helium balloons in the shape of comic characters like the Smurfs or animals floated above the parade. First published in 1958, in a Belgian comic magazine called 'Spirou's Newspaper", the Smurfs were created by the famous Belgian cartoonist Peyo.
"We know the 'Smourf' (mispronounced), the Smurfs, I don't know in our language it is 'Smurf' but I'm not sure about the other characters'"
said Ulli Kurvitz, an Estonian mother working in Brussels.
Isabelle Cadot, a 31-year old Belgian who came specially in Brussels for the occasion, said she enjoyed the spectacle.
"We had a really great day, the weather was good, it was nice. And it shows the unity of Belgium when we see the amount of people here, it proves that our country is really the country of the comics, a really nice moment," said Cadot.
Other balloons included one shaped like a crocodile and a boy dressed in green uniform.
According the organisers, 250 people participated in the parade including those who were marching and holding the helium balloons. Many were local volunteers and scouts.
The balloons were inflated by a team of specialists from the United States who also supervised the parade and directed the balloons, organisers said.
Spectators were delighted.
Mateo, a 10-year-old boy from Brussels enjoyed the show with his parents.
"I liked the Manneken Pis (the Belgian symbol) one, and also the crocodile. I like also the Spirou, I think I loved all of them," he said.
Six-year-old Alicia from Brussels had a clear-cut favourite.
"The balloons and the music, it was really nice, I think."
Other comics characters took part in the show. Seated in a lorry back, Spirou, a comic character drawn by the Belgian cartoonist Andre Franquin.
Spirou appeared in 1958 as the comic star of the 'Spirou Newspaper'.
The parade took place in the middle of the carnival season, celebrated throughout Belgium with parades and cavalcades in every town.
The event also marked the launch of Brussels' tourist season which will celebrate all things related to the world of comic books. For the occasion, many exhibitions, conferences and activities are planned.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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