A Parade Full of Zest | God's World News
A Parade Full of Zest
News Shorts
Posted: February 19, 2024
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    An Olympic swimmer sculpture made with citrus fruit is featured at the Lemon Festival in Menton, southern France, on February 17, 2024. (AP/Daniel Cole)
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    A worker places lemons on an equestrian float during the Lemon Festival. (AP/Daniel Cole)
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    A worker places citrus fruit on an boxing float. (AP/Daniel Cole)
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    Workers build a cyclist sculpture at a warehouse. (AP/Daniel Cole)
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    An Olympic rowing sculpture made with citrus fruit (AP/Daniel Cole)
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Life gave lemons to the people of Menton, France. They knew just what to do. Each year, they have a parade!

Menton showcased its fruit last weekend. The 2024 Lemon Festival celebrated the upcoming Olympics in Paris. Ten floats carried giant figures made of lemons and oranges. They included tennis, rugby, and badminton players. Other floats held a boxer, a swimmer, and an equestrian (a rider on horseback).

“We wanted to honor the Olympics because Paris is hosting the Games,” says Christophe Ghiena. He is a director of Menton’s Lemon Festival.

Each float used up to three tons of fruit. People attached the lemons and oranges to wire frameworks with rubber bands.

About 33,000 people live in the town. About the same number of visitors flooded in for the celebration.

Other towns nearby have their own parades and festivals. These come from an old tradition. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday.” That day is also called Shrove Tuesday. It is the day before Lent begins. (Read more about Shrove Tuesday and Lent here.) In the traditional church calendar, that day happens right before a time of repentance. But many people see Mardi Gras as just a time to have fun.

Menton was once a leading lemon-growing area in Europe. Now there are only 15 producers. Menton doesn’t grow enough lemons for the celebration. This year, the floats and displays used more than 140 tons of citrus. The town bought those hundreds of crates from Spain.

“All the lemons we produce locally are not enough to stage the Lemon Festival,” says Marine Krenc. She works in Menton’s tourism office. “Honestly, we prefer that people taste our lemons rather that look at them on display.”

Although Menton no longer produces a huge amount of citrus fruit, people say the area’s lemons are special. The fruit is less bitter than other lemons. It has a thick skin.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23