First off, it's nice to see loads of people milling about with not one out of place gesture, just good fun to be had by all. Saturday lunch time starts off with several local bands walking the streets, playing and creating a marvellous atmosphere and making one almighty racket. Following on there is a cherry-peeling game where you have to take the pips and tails off the cherries in an allotted time and then have your bucket weighed.... Local Catalan dancers then take the stage for a couple of hours then the bands start up again. Everybody then reels off, either home or to find somewhere to eat and(more)drink.
Sunday starts a bit later as there are a few sore heads in the assistance and amongst the participants. Following more music and dancing on the central stage, comes the highlight of the weekend..... The Cherry Pip Spitting Contest. This is a major event in Ceret's festival weekend. I must admit I was biased towards the participants as in the few years my brother in law has lived here, he has won it twice and came second a couple of times also. Once again he came second with a "spit" of 10 metres30, with the winner spitting 10metres80. As 1st, 2nd, or 3rd each win a cherry tree, it's not really that important.
The cherry-pip spitting contest to close the cherry festival is well known in the region, as the number of participants show. From 5/6 y.o. up to "a certain age". A good laugh is for all, especially the spectators as pips fly, not always down the runway, out to as far as 11.00 metres and over. This years winner "only" reached 10.80 metres, with my brother in law Bill finishing second at 10.30 metres, not up to his usual standard as he does hold the all-time Ceret cherry-pip spitting record at close to 11.50 metres. But he was younger then, and had more puff.....
The convergence in Ceret in the first half of the 20th century of a cluster of artists who were to become the most well known painters, sculptors and ceramicists of their age eventually resulted in the establishment of a small but delightful Museum of Modern Art.
As you walk along boulevard Maréchal Joffre in the dappled shade cast by the leafy plane trees it is strange to reflect that Picasso, Dali, Braque, Matisse, Chagall and others was lived and worked here.
Many donated some of their works to the Museum giving it a kick-start into the realm of great little art museums of Europe and puting Ceret on the artistic map for generations to come.
We went to see the current exhibition showing the work of Marc Chagall - running until May 25th.
Admission was 8 Euros. and included admission to a very interesting film of about 45 minutes duration about the remarkable life of Russian born Chagall. Commentary in French only.
There is no cafe in the Museum but excellent refreshments can be obtained right next door at Le Citron Bleu, a small cafe serving light meals and drinks all day.
The music and dancing lasted about 2 hours on the Sunday, with plenty to do for the kids before the main event.