Franschhoek Bastille Day Festival

Don your beret and celebrate France’s Independence Day with good food and wine


What better way to paint the town red, white and blue than in a beret? Vive la Résistance!

Party à la française (French-style) at the centuries-old French Huguenot fête that is poised to, once more, take over Franschhoek for Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day. On Saturday, 12 and Sunday, 13 July 2014 visitors to Mzansi’s French corner can look forward to a two-day feast featuring good food, great wine and enthralling entertainment. This time around, the annual get-together celebrates its 21st birthday as both a Cape Town calendar highlight and a must-do event for foodies worth their salt.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE 2014 FRANSCHHOEK BASTILLE DAY FESTIVAL

AN INDULGENT AFFAIR: Much like the French themselves, this annual food, wine and culture extravaganza embraces the decadence of its heritage to showcase the area’s gourmet treats and quirky traditions. While the final festival programme has yet to be confirmed, the fiesta is scheduled to return with a slew of much-anticipated favourites known to keep visitors coming back year after year.

FOOD & WINE MARQUEE: The focal point of every year’s get-together is the Food and Wine Marquee, which will be hosted at the Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek. Here, first-time and regular festival-goers can sip and swirl wine, listen to live musical entertainment put on by local artists and appreciate the fine gastronomy of the region. The exhibition area is jam-packed with stalls serving up both delectable fare and top-notch reds, whites and MCCs, and those milling about are urged to buy of bottle of something and settle in for the afternoon.

FUN & GAMES – THE FRENCH WAY: That’s not all though, other major festival attractions include the largest and longest running boules competition (anyone can enter) of its kind, as well as the delightful Franschhoek minstrel parade and the ever-popular barrel-rolling contest. What’s more, the much-anticipated Waiters’ Race – originally dubbed la course des garçons de café (it originated in Paris, France) – tests servers’ skills in a chase that requires contestants to run a course with a loaded tray without tipping it.

FARMER’S MARKET: Let’s not forget the farmer’s market, craft stalls and the Marche de Franschhoek (Market of Franschhoek) in the Town Hall, which hosts a wide selection of French and French-inspired food, lifestyle products and arts and crafts to commemorate the day.

SPORTING EVENTS: Besides the food, wine and fun games, attendees can burn off a few extra calories by taking part in the Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run on Saturday, 12 July 2014. The gruelling race gives athletes the option of competing across four different distances, 14-km, 24-km, 35-km and 50-km course trails, each of which takes participants through the Franschhoek mountains. Online entries are now open and can be made via Trailrunning.co.za; space is limited so don’t delay. Otherwise, mountain biking (MTB) enthusiasts can get in on the action with the Bastille Festival MTB Classic on Sunday, 13 July 2014. The biking challenge has three different route lengths: 10-km, 32-km and 45-km courses. Entries are now open, and bikers can register online via Entrytime.com; entries close on Wednesday, 9 July 2014.

TICKETS FOR THE 2014 FRANSCHHOEK BASTILLE DAY FESTIVAL

Tickets are available via Webtickets.co.za and, depending on availability, at the door on the day; costs are as follows:

TICKET TYPE

COST

Saturday ticket

R200p/p

Sunday ticket

R180p/p

R1500 for a table of 10

Children younger than 18 years of age (accompanied by an adult)

FREE!

Tickets include a tasting glass, a coupon booklet for wine tastings (extra coupons will be on sale on the day), a R20 voucher to go towards wine purchases and access to all the live entertainment in the festival zone. Do note that food will also be on sale at the marquee and guests are advised to bring along cash since there will be no card machines.

Booking is essential as tickets to the marquee are limited. Once the venue is full, no more patrons will be admitted. All guests are urged to wear a beret, and for those who do not own one, berets will be on sale at the marquee’s entrance; proceeds of the sales will go to Hospice.

The marquee opens from 12pm until 5pm; no entrance after 5pm.

For more information, visit Franschhoek.org.za or contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861. For the social media savvy, get real-time updates or share your experiences on twitter with the hashtag #fhkbastille.

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Can’t get enough of the French Huguenot village? Check out our overview of restaurants and things to do in Franschhoek. Also, have a look at our overview of annual July events to find out about more hot happenings taking place during the month.
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