Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Record Crowds at Carnival

It's all over for this year's carnival. From experience, I know the drunken roar of the crowds has instantly and mysteriously ended. Venice is probably very silent now that Lent has begun. I could almost hear the city sigh... According to news reports, carnival was a great success this year. Here's an article about the record-breaking crowds:

"A record 140,000 people crowded St Mark's Square and the narrow streets of Venice over the weekend as the city's carnival prepared to draw to a close with Tuesday's traditional Mardi Gras celebrations.

Organizers said the attendance rate, aided by sunshine, was the highest in recent years and spoke of this year's edition as 'a great success.'

'We hadn't seen these kind of crowds since the early 1990s,' a spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Monday.

During the weekend, organizers awarded the Best Mask of 2007 to a German woman, Tanja Schulz, who paraded through the streets of Venice dressed up in an 18th century hot-air balloon costume.

The Venice Carnival ends on Tuesday with La Mascherata, a masked pageant in St Mark's Square, and a Marching Bands Collision, in which Latin American bands will play on the go, bumping into Scottish bagpipe players in the process.

Celebrations are due to be wrapped up with a high-tech pyrotechnic display, in which the bangs of fireworks will be replaced by synchronized music controlled by a computer.

The opening song of the show is to be John Lennon's pacifist hit Imagine.

This year's edition of the carnival was dedicated to Carlo Goldoni, a popular Venice-born 18th century playwright."

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

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