Shrove Tuesday Carnival in Jelsa 2015

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The Udruga Karnevol created yet another resounding success for the start of Lent in 2015.

The Shrove Tuesday Carnival is the high point of the Carnival Association's year, even thought they are active throughout the year. They produce a splendid show for all ages, year after year. There are always ingenious and imaginative costumes on show for this wonderful occasion when children and grown-ups can dress up and put themselves on parade.

The children perform on stage, with a prize for the classes which are judged the best in various categories.

Grown-ups mill around, or sit in the cafes and enjoy the atmosphere.

Parents and children enjoy the occasion on equal terms.

The organizers tirelessly join in the fun.

In 2013, the Udruga Karnevol surpassed themselves by creating a large-scale model of the popular tourist boat Makarski Jadran. The model was paraded through Jelsa, just scraping through some of the streets, and knocking off a few branches on the way, before arriving in style at the sports hall, which was hosting the Carnival because of rainy weather.

The 2015 Carnival saw them rise to yet another new height - almost literally - with the creation of a model seaplane. The real seaplane had enjoyed its own success in the morning, proudly conveying Croatia's Prime Minister Zoran Milanović into Jelsa for a flying visit.

In the afternoon, Jelsa Airlines had the honour of bringing in Croatia's newly elected President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, the first female to hold the job.

The plane was carrying the current Prime Minister and members of his coalition, as depicted, appropriately, in the windows on the left side, while on the right were the representatives of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), including the newly elected President. The Jelsa Airlines title of 'Futre' on the plane is not a misprint of 'Future', nor - Heaven forfend! - of a rather rude French word. It is the nickname of Jelsa's Tourist Board Director, Niko Skrivaneli, famous for his frequent flights from the bosom of Jelsa, and widely credited with being the inventor of 'telepathy tourism', a whole new approach to promoting a prime holiday destination. Mr Skrivaneli was on hand when the Prime Minister visited Jelsa on the morning of the Carnival, and was apparently amused and honoured to find Jelsa's new seaplane named after him.

The plane was escorted in by a phalanx of Jelsa Airlines' special jets, performing a unique formation known as a fly-away-behind.

Although she had not yet taken up her duties on the day of the Carnival, due (dis)respect was paid to President Kolinda, ably represented by her 'double', Lidija Reljić. Security was tight: there were not only policemen but police dogs on hand to quell any potential trouble.

Once the banter on stage was over, and all authorities and dignitaries duly shredded into comic little pieces, Mrs President-to-be Kolinda was transported away in style on her jet aircraft, which, one has to say, allowed her better communication with her adoring public than the real seaplane.

The rear was taken up by the hapless Carnival effigy who has a lot in common with England's 'Guy' on Guy Fawkes Night. The effigy for 2015 represented the National Tourist Board's pitiful attempt at a new image for Croatia under the supposedly innovative slogan 'Full of Life'. As a replacement for 'The Mediterranean as it once was', it has not found favour.

The effigy is normally ceremoniously burnt in a mock vendetta, but this year the poor thing was unceremoniously dumped in the sea. Eco Hvar applauds the avoidance of smoke pollution, and hopes that the body was retrieved later to avoid frightening too many fish.

After the mock extinction of the Carnival buffoon, Mrs President-to-be Kolinda took a stroll around Jelsa's Pjaca with her 'consort', better known for his role as Jelsa's very own Lavanderman.

The music played on, so the children danced on, encouraged as ever by the Zagorac family: Žare controlled the sound system with practised expertise throughout the afternoon, while wife Andrea and daughter Marija took care of some of the goings-on on stage.

Other children played and indulged in their own special types of communication.

And so the 2015 Carnival drew to a close, after a perfect day in idyllic sunny warm conditions.

By a happy coincidence, or perhaps through exemplary timing, the European Coastal Airline's real live seaplane flew over Jelsa just as the Jelsa Airlines version was starting its departure. It really was The Day of the Seaplane.

© Vivian Grisogono 2015

 

 

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