On Saturday, the first weekend in December
In Épinal, Saint Nicolas is traditionally celebrated on Saturday during the first weekend in December. The evening marks the launch of the festivities of this month of traditions and lights. On Saturday, brass bands and decorated floats invade the streets of the town for a large popular parade illuminated and adorned with a thousand colours.
Brass bands, folk groups, artists and talented sportsmen come to animate the fabulous procession of floats, one more beautiful than the other. Saint Nicholas closes the parade followed by Father Fouettard. The first is acclaimed, the second booed by the crowd. This is the magic of this popular and endearing parade where everyone finds their childhood soul.
It’s show time !
Snow White and the 7 dwarves’ house is animated. All are busy around a steaming casserole or sawing wood for the fire, while throwing candy at the amazed children. The Hockey Club in Épinal demonstrates technical passes on a mini rink, mounted on the trailer of a tractor, all under the encouragement of their cheerleaders. On a wooden float, the students of ENSTIB (École Nationale Supérieure des Technologies et Industries du Bois d’Épinal) demonstrate their talents playing their instruments. Shrek, the friendly green monster from a well-known animated film towers over the audience, accompanied by his companions the donkey and Puss in Boots, closely followed by a Sleeping Beauty in her fairy-tale castle.
Heritage and culture in the spotlight
A mountain of sweets created with a lot of delicacies by the apprentices at the “Pôle des Métiers” fall gently into the middle of the crowd who are awaiting them with watering mouth. A miniature version of the Chinese Tower in Épinal puts heritage in the spotlight, thanks to the work by the artists in the association - Société des Fête. The dance clubs in Épinal and the surrounding areas create a fantastic atmosphere between each float with choreographies specially designed for the big day. Equestrian clubs walk their mounts. Horses and ponies with braided manes are dressed to the finest and mounted by their proud costumed horsemen. Saint Nicholas closes the parade, on a bright chariot, accompanied by angels and applauded by the crowd as the children marvel. Just behind, Father Fouettard rings his bell in the middle of the fir trees booed by the spectators.
The parade finished, Saint-Nicolas takes off above the Moselle River after giving his traditional speech, leaving place for the 30-minutes exceptional pyrotechnic show. You will have the opportunity to discover the next Saint Nicolas parade on Saturday 8th December 2018.