Bastille Day is a day of celebrations of French culture. Many public events are held on this day, including a military parade in Paris, as well as communal meals, dances, parties and fireworks. This French national holiday celebrates independence, freedom, and honors the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789. In honor of the holiday, local Los Angelenos celebrated “French-style” on Sunday, July 15, 2012 at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area in Los Angeles.
After a short walk through the grassy park to the festival’s entrance, I immediately entered a small piece of France. Underneath the warm sunlight, there were vendors in booths adorned in French flags who were selling their various wares. I saw lots of people casually walking around and even spotted some attendees dressed in 18th Century French fashion.
The stage hosted fine French talent such as; Cabaret Versatile, a group of glamorous Cancan dancers adorned in feathers and glitz as they danced energetically and did amazing acrobatic moves. The audience went simply wild at the spectacle and even got to peep at the dancing ladies bloomers while the tossed and turned their long skirts. Also performing was singer, Jenny Eloise Rieu; former Cirque Du Soleil mime clown, Momo Casablanca; and J.R. Black who was the first performer to translate and sing the songs of Johnny Cash in French. He captured the voice of Johnny Cash with pure grace and ease. The Cirque Du Soleil street team was also present at the fest to promote their upcoming production of “Iris.”
As with many festivals, there was an array of culinary choices to dine on. Food plays a major role in France’s social life. Excited about indulging in French fare, I evaluated my options. I was immediately intrigued by a colorful food truck that contained a picture on the outside of the truck of a giant, spiral-shaped, fried potato on a stick. The picture caught my eye because I’d never seen anything like it. I approached the Tornado Potato truck to place my order. The menu offered an assortment of “seasonings” to select on the spiraled crispy potato. While reviewing the menu, I opted for the Garlic Parmesan Tornado Potato and it was really tasty. This humungous French Fry tantalized my palette as I threw caution to the wind and indulged with very little guilt.
After I ate the potato, I visited a nearby food truck that specialized in preparing various crepes. The choices were a grilled chicken crepe drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette sauce and smothered in cheese, banana crepes, strawberry with Ricotta cheese crepes, chocolate and so on. I ordered the strawberry and Ricotta cheese but requested that they also add the sliced bananas inside it as well. Once it was ready, I opened the white Styrofoam container and witnessed the biggest, most beautiful crepe I’d ever had laid eyes on. It was covered in strawberry sauce and sprinkled with powdered sugar and absolutely mind-blowing—as good as the “birds and bees” on a hot summer day. Oh, the shame! The guilt I bore! But honestly, it was well worth every fat gram and calorie I digested. Why go to a French festival if you’re not going to treat yourself to fine French indulgences?
On behalf of The Power Player Lifestyle Magazine, it was a pleasure to have spent my day at the Bastille Day Festival. I left at the end of the day completely full, relaxed, looking forward to next year’s event and with a little piece of France to cherish in my heart. – Report by Nina Womack (Filmmaker/Producer/Actress)
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