Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Circus Festival of Monte Carlo: A Brief History

It's that time of year again in Monaco: The time for Lions, Tigers, and Bears...Oh, My!...Nah, just the 2012 36th annual Circus Festival in Monaco.  It's typically the only time we see Princess Stephanie's three children attending a "Royal Duty". With that said, here is a breif history of the annual event.

The event was started in 1974 by then reigning Prince Rainier to celebrate his love for the circusamd order to support Circus arts and Circus families. The family-Prince Rainier's wife and three children all share his love for the circus. The first Festival was held from December 26 to 30, 1974 under the big top of the French circus Bouglione, installed on what was then the Esplanade de Fontvielle. In the foreword he wrote for the program, Prince Rainier said, "This International Circus Festival was created thinking of the circus community, of this family of underestimated people, so that you, attentive spectators of their efforts and of their work, could know them better, and celebrate them better." It was the first true circus festival ever presented in the Western world {Source}.

In 1975, the Festival was presented under the big top of the Italian circus, Nando, Liana e Rinaldo Orfei, and from 1975 to 1994, under the big top of another Italian Circus, Circo Americano-Togni. Since 1995, it has been held under a large, sedentary circus structure, permanently installed in what is now the Quartier Fontvielle, in Monaco {Source}.

Prince Rainier presided over the festival from it's inception in 1974 until his death in 2005. His daughter Princess Stephanie, took over the role after his death.

In the spirit of Prince Rainier's original thoughts upon creation of the original festival,  the Organization committee decided to create a new International Festival for Young Artists under the Presidency of H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and with her older daughter Pauline Ducruet as President of the Jury. The Festival «New Generation» will be the one and only competition for Young Circus Artists which will be held in an original Circus ring. This festival will take place the weekend after the closing of the 36th annual festival, in the original circus ring, and will feature acts from Monaco, Germany, Denmark, China, Ukraine, Czech Republic, France, Italy and Switzerland ranging from Acrobats, rollerskaters, annimal acts, balancing acts, and jugglers-and a whole lot more! I'm sure it will be something to watch in the coming years!

Since the creation of the Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, there have been numerous circus festivals created throughout the world including ones in: United States, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, France, Spain, China, Russia, Brazil, Hungary, and Mexico {Source} {Source}.

Check out the information on or order tickets to (and merchendise) the 36th Annual Festival and the 1st Annual The Festival «New Generation» at the website. The original festival runs from the 19-29 of January (Gala Awards Ceremony on January 24th) and the 1st Annual The Festival «New Generation» runs from 4-5 of February.

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