An explorer, riding a giant dodo walked right passed me. I just had the time to click the button on my camera and he was gone… In the distance, I could see a troll entering a bistrot. Earlier a cowboy had asked me whether I wanted to dance and a man wearing giant balloon hat saluted me. This wasn’t a wild dream but Namur en Mai, a fantastic festival celebrating street entertainment. The street lamps had been turned into blooms, dragonflies were suspended in the air: it felt as if a magical Instagram filter had been applied to the city.
Here and there, at the corner of a street, in courtyards, on squares, you would find funky orchestras and actors playing little scenes. A grass band, their trumpets decorated with ivy. Musical acrobats adding a fun twist to circus acts. Amazing entertainers making adults feel like children again and children forget their video games. You could feel a wave of happiness all around Namur, a harmony, even. There were laughs, applause and encores… Most of the shows were free, the artists being paid “au chapeau”, the public throwing a few coins in their hat at the end of the performance. There was so much creativity, so much magic everyone contributed cheerfully, occasionally adding a few words, shaking hands.
This atmosphere bohemian simply was exquisite. Kids loved it, posing in a Western scene with their parents, weaving ribbons on a giant frame, riding wooden horses on a vintage fun fair ride, throwing balls on painted targets, dancing around totems. I saw a child bring a paper flower to a ballerina as a thank you, a little boy pretending to play ball with a mime, a toddler dancing in circles to the music of a jazz band, another daring to go all the way to a guitar and play a few random notes, lighting up with pure delight. I saw bubbles being blown in the air, mini scooters racing, 3 scoops ice creams being devoured but no sign of an app, no tablet out. This fairy tale world replaced the parallel digital one beautifully…
Namur, without doubt, knows how to have fun… There is so much happening throughout the year: Chambres avec vue (an artistic trail), mind-wowing flower installations, a fight for golden stints, a day celebrating folkloric traditions and even a competition to elect the king of liars. Trust it to amaze you at every single visit!