The Lantern Festival settles in Blagnac. Visit of the workshop, where 80 Chinese artisans are working to create small wonders that the public will be able to discover from December 1 on the 8 hectares of Ritouret.
Some cut sections of silk that will end up in petals on giant flowers, others paint the metal structures of a whale, others still install the electrical systems of the lanterns. Since February 3, some 80 Chinese artisans have been concentrating with calm, thoroughness and in the giant workshop, installed on the rugby field in the city of Blagnac, for the Lantern Festival which takes place here from December 1 to 1.
These Chinese are metalworkers, painters, welders, dressmakers… and each one at their post. All are from Zigong City, Sichuan Province. Until November 30, they will use their ancestral know-how in the production of 2,500 giant lanterns intended to dazzle visitors at nightfall on the 8 hectares of Parc du Ritouret.
For three months, the 80 Chinese are accommodated in a hostel for young workers located nearby. On site, they benefit from small “very spicy” dishes from a Chinese cook, who is also part of the expedition. Out of all the craftsmen, on the account 30 women for 50 men and among them five couples.
“We are only 25% of the final production”
For the time being, even if mountains of creations, of all sizes and colors, pile up both inside and outside the workshop, they only represent 25% of production. final, entirely carried out on site in Blagnac. “Only four of the fourteen containers of expected materials arrived precise”, Patrice Gausserand, president of Mag Conseil and organizer of the festival, with the town hall of Blagnac.
The choice of themes and lanterns were determined in collaboration with the city of Blagnac. Also, in addition to planes and violets, expect to see pandas, dragons, dinosaurs, migratory birds and even the reconstruction of a typical street in a Chinese village …
Until then presented in Gaillac during the last three editions, the Lantern Festival will be held for the first year in Blagnac. “We signed a one-year contract, renewable twice with the Chinese,” says Joseph Carles, the mayor of Blagnac, who is investing 2.5 million euros in this event. “After the pandemic, this major festival, since it is the largest in Europe, aims to participate in economic and societal recovery”, added the mayor.
Between 500 and 600,000 visitors are expected to make the event profitable, and between 11 and 15 million euros in economic benefits for the peripheral sectors (hotels, restaurants, etc.).