Europe Traveler's event picks for Feb. 10-11
By KAREN BRADBURY | Stars and Stripes | Published: February 5, 2018
Anima -- The Brussels Animation Film Festival
Cinematek, Kunstberg, Baron Hortastraat 9, 1000 Brussels, Flagey, Belgium
Dates: Feb. 9-18
More than 120 short and nine feature-length films are in competition at this festival for cartoons and animated film. Films appealing to families with children are shown in the mornings and afternoons, while those with more adult themes are screened at night. Exhibitions, special guests, Mardi Gras and St. Valentine’s Day celebrations, concerts and more round out the program.
Admission: Screenings generally cost 8 euros for adults and 7 euros for those under 16. A mini-pass valid for entry to five screenings costs 28 euros.
Carnaval de Binche/Binche Carnival
Dates: Feb. 11-13
This folkloric, UNESCO-listed carnival dates back to the fourteenth century. Musical entertainment, recitations of verse, and processions fill its first two days. Festivities peak on Shrove Tuesday Feb. 13 with the appearance of more than one thousand “Gilles,” carnival characters wearing patterned trousers and tunics stuffed with straw, pleated lace collars, and wax masks with green glasses, moustache, goatee and sideburns. The costume, which is rented out, may be worn on this one day only, strictly by local residents, and it is forbidden to leave the city while wearing it.
Golden Beer Seal
House of Culture, Gerbera Budvar Arena, Manesova 1224/3, Ceske Budejovice 7, 370 01 Czech Republic
Dates: Feb. 14-17 (from 4 p.m. daily)
This event is both a prestigious competition and a beer festival. Dozens of domestic and foreign breweries, from world-known multinationals to craft and microbreweries, vie for the Gold Brewer's Seal awards bestowed across a number of beer-style categories. More than 200 breweries from 23 countries competed in last year’s event. The side program includes concerts by three different groups each evening.
Admission: 130 Czech Koruna, about $6.40
Jorvik Viking Festival
Jorvik Viking Centre, 19 Coppergate, York YO1 9WT, England
Dates: Feb. 12-18
This all-ages festival, billed as the largest event of its kind in Europe, is a city-wide celebration of York’s Norse heritage. The arrival and conquest of England by the Great Viking Army in 866 is brought to life through historical encampments, a Viking farm, birds of prey show, guided walks, talks and combat performances. With special tickets, visitors can engage in activities such as mead tasting or crafts from pottery to necklace making.
Admission: Some events in the city itself are free; many activities and events require separate tickets. Check availability online in advance, as some events are sold out. Entry to competitions for Strongest Viking (10 a.m.-noon) and Best Beard (3 p.m.-4 p.m.) on Feb. 17 are free.
Carnaval de Nice/ Nice Carnival
Dates: various dates Feb. 17-March 3
France’s most famous carnival parades attract spectators numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Each year’s festivities have a theme; in 2018, “King of Space” puts stars and planets at center stage. Highlight events include six carnival parades with 17 floats and more than 1,000 dancers and musicians from around the world, as well as floral parades, in which extravagantly costumed models on blossom-bedecked floats toss flowers to the crowds.
Admission: Entry to the parades, standing room only, costs from 12 euros adults and 5 euros for ages 6 through 10.
Date: Feb. 8
On the Thursday before Ash Wednesday, the Bavarian town of Dietfurt celebrates carnival with an interpretation of Chinese culture that’s all its own. The festival’s roots have nothing to do with China, but stem from a dispute in which a local bishop decided residents weren’t paying enough in tithes to the church. When the tax collector came calling, the walled city closed its gates against him, a tactic the chagrined official likened to something the Chinese would do. Today’s festivities include pageantry in the main square recounting the event’s historical background (from noon) and a colorful parade (starts 2:01 p.m.).
Admission: entry to festivities generally costs just a few euros.
Dates: Feb. 9-13
This city 10 miles west of Stuttgart organizes its own tradition-rich festivities during the carnival season. Things to do include enjoying a beer or wine in one of the lively cellars in the buildings of the Old Town, riding on a handful of attractions, or attending concerts (tickets required). The busiest days are Feb. 11, when “Guggenmusik” groups play on the market square from 11:11 a.m., a flea market is held in the Stadthalle (1 p.m.-6 p.m. ), and a parade goes through the city from 2 p.m. On Feb. 13, a horse show takes place at the Reiterstadion from 9 a.m., and a market with more than 140 stalls selling a mishmash of wares operates along the Steinstrasse from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Free, with entry charged to a few special events
Carnevale Asburgico/Habsburg Carnival
Madonna di Campiglio, Italy
Dates: Feb. 12-16
Madonna di Campiglio, nestled in the Brenta Dolomites, has long been a stylish resort, attracting Hapsburg’s royal couple Princess Sissi and Emperor Franz Josef to visit in 1889 and 1894. Their presence is recalled by a variety of activities including performances by folklore groups, costumed balls, music, fireworks and more. Highlights include the arrival of the court on Righi Square from 6 p.m. Feb. 12, and the sight of costumed royals skiing down the slopes on Feb. 15. The royal couple and their court, along with local ski instructors, make their final descent by torchlight at the Canalone Miramonte at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15.
Admission: Both ticketed and free events.