F is for Festivals and Spectacles

This is the next instalment of my Special Moments, Magic Memories series for the 2022 A to Z Blog Challenge.

Nowadays it feels like you can plan every detail of which events might be held while you’re visiting a place. “Back in the day” serendipity gave us the gift of happening upon a festival you may have known nothing about before you set forth on your trip.


Our first experience of that was Easter in Florence. We were delightedly surprised by the traditional celebration that occurs there, Scoppio del Carro. Rather than try to explain this complex process and its symbolism why not read this article? It was certainly quite a spectacle though our photos have now faded and don’t do it justice, but we were thrilled to see the event. I can see that at some point I’m going to have to excavate our negatives and scan them, not just the printed photos.

The traditional Florence festival, Scoppio del Carro, Easter 1974. P Cass


On the same trip we happened upon the Zurich end of winter festival and celebrations. The parade of people in the traditional costumes of their guilds was impressive and we were intrigued how friends would rush from sidelines to give “their” person a bunch of flowers. No Aussie wussiness about flowers there as the men were quite comfortable carrying them.

At the end of the parade, the crowd gathered at a park area, where an artificial snowman was set alight to celebrate the end of winter. We enjoyed seeing the crowds’ enthusiasm and somehow made brief friends with a couple of people who shared their drink with Mr Cassmob. It was such fun!


Back home in 1988, there was a spectacle of a different kind as white Australia celebrated its establishment as a British colony. It ignored that Indigenous Australians had lived here for thousands of years before that. Not to mention that the Brits only just pipped France to the post, or that it could have also been claimed by the Dutch. Britain, however, had lost its American colonies and needed another dumping ground for its convicts. Who could imagine how the next two hundred years would generate a new nation often to the detriment of its First Nations peoples.

Having said all that, the prospect of seeing Sydney’s magnificent harbour with a flotilla of tall ships was one that just had to be seen so our family took another camping trip to see this spectacle. There’s no doubt it was an amazing site, and sensitivities aside, it was worth seeing.


A Brisbane festival in 1986 included the George St Colonial Festival. The Genealogical Society of Queensland had a stall about tracing your family history. This was enough to tip my interest into a practical activity/hobby/obsession. This quiet discovery led to half a life-time’s worth of discoveries and excitement. I’ve loved it all.

Do you enjoy visiting Festivals at home or abroad?

What triggered the start of your genealogy journey is you’re a fellow addict like me?

12 thoughts on “F is for Festivals and Spectacles

  1. One thing I enjoy doing with my husband during the summer months is attending art festivals. There are several that take place in June/July/August, and they are basically large community showcases of artists’ works. We have purchased some lovely artwork at these events over the years and always enjoy the great food that’s on offer as we walk around and browse as well.

    COVID restrictions for the past two summers gave meant that many of the art festivals have been closed (or greatly reduced in size/variety); I am hoping that perhaps things will be “normal” enough that we will be able to visit one or two this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Art festivals and similar can be great fun can’t they? Sometimes a bit scary for our wallets though 😉 Covid has messed with so much hasn’t it?


    1. preservetwinmom, the Zurich duo’s opening line: Do you have a light so that I may smoke my pipe? (I was a smoker then.)
      Parting advice: It is recommended that you make the promenade. We did, and it was most enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We usually avoid large gatherings but the New Year of 1999/2000 we put our boat on Sydney Harbour along with thousands of others and watched the fireworks to celebrate the new millennium (yes I know it was officially 2001). Also an unexpected parade in Charlestown, Boston, to celebrate Bunker Hill Day had us sitting on the stoop watching it all go by. Those Americans sure know how to do a parade!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would have been great fun to be on the harbour for the “millennium” celebrations! Sydney sure does put on a display! One day we’ll get to a New Year’s fireworks and Vivid.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am enjoying your A-Z posts, with the evocative theme of Special Moments and Magic Memories – I always have a soft spot for alliteration! I was hoping to participate in this year’s challenge and planned my theme and topics per letter, but had not actually drafted anything, when matters intervened – hopefully next year. So I am trying to catch up on admirable contributions from fellow geneabloggers. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting Susan. I didn’t start writing until Day 1, for various reasons, so have been scurrying throughout with both posts and comments.


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