Floats construction and fabrication.
As the days for Rethymno's Carnival are fast approaching, the Carnival Teams are in feverish preparation and chasing time in order to be ready before the final event.
The floats’ long history is identified with Rethymno’s Carnival, since 1914. In fact, their own significance in the institution is highly recognized in everyone’s consciousness, as they represent the peak of the festival’s celebration, the Grand Parade. Basically, they are simple handmade wheel constructions, which depict an artistic quality combined with the satirical mood that they express and with a humorous point of view on the country’s political and social life.
Because of the environmental consciousness of the participants in Rethymno's Carnival, all the floats are being made of ecological and recyclable materials, with all kinds of tools from papers, saws, plastics and pieces of wood to paintbrushes. As a matter of fact, the old floats are also being reused as decoration. Most of them are displayed around the city at the beginning of this annual festival, by giving a sense of joy and the opportunity to the visitors to admire them. Among the participants, are the so-called “artists”, participants with exceptional skills, technique, and experience, who make masterpieces. As the float takes shape and form, it gradually acquires its own character. The last but not least is the selection of the bright colors which make them stand out. The most special float is concededly the King of the Carnival, which, at the end of the Grand Parade is burnt in a spectacular show of fireworks every year.
Every year, right after Christmas holidays, all the carnival teams are gathered together in certain places – usually storehouses- around the city and set to work. Rich imagination, creativity, and passion are the main sources of inspiration that give plenty of ideas for the most extravagant themes. However, the creation of the float is not that easy, it takes a long time and effort, from capturing the idea until the final touches. It takes a lot of discussion among the members of the Team until they reach the final idea. But, each Team's costumes and float have to be in agreement with the selected theme. During this time, the Carnival Teams often arrange parties, with barbeques, wine, and Cretan appetizers, combining work with fun. Music and dance are never missing. The team spirit always overfills the participants, as the good moments they share are the reward for the hard work. Finally, everyone is satisfied and proud of the result. Daily visitors and school tours are welcome to join the spirit of Carnival, by learning about the process and the materials used to create a float and also about the history of the cultural events that take place in Rethymno's Carnival, such as the Treasure's Hunts, the Cretan Traditional Serenades and the Opening Ceremony.
This year, the Grand Parade of Rethymno's Carnival is scheduled on Sunday 10th March. The whole city celebrates the annual event with over 15,000 participants and dozens of floats that will have their place from early in the morning in Portaliou street.