by Alexandra de Dives (France)
The documentary presented above is the first chapter of a long story.
The fair is registered in the French inventory of intangible cultural heritage. A popular culture dear to all.
But behind the enchantment of the lights, the sparkling rides, the deafening music and the mountains of sweets, there is a community that follows a particular way of life.
Every year the nomads make the same itinerary.
The rides are assembled, disassembled, reviewed, cleaned at each trip.
Six times a year, everything has to be redone.
As a result, the children change schools six times a year and are built on a different learning model than other schoolchildren.
The pandemic has only accentuated the feeling of being a “separate” community, strengthening family ties but distancing them even more from their peers.
Between closures and cancellations, the fairgrounds are now subject to a very strict protocol that leads to a drop in public attendance. A full year of non-activity for some, permanent closure for others.
Everything is done to convince the city halls to let them settle down by adapting to the situation. Compromises are proposed to be able to work in the best conditions.
The adaptation they have to face in order to keep the dream alive and to be able to welcome the public in all serenity shows their will to make this profession, this atypical way of life, last.