Thousands of Smurfs converged on Landerneau (Finistère) on Saturday, amidst decorated shops and passers-by made up in blue. But not enough to win the world record: just over 2,600 people played the game, but it took at least 2,762 to win it. Second failure for the city, which during its first attempt had caused a stir in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, had managed to bring together more people, but could not certify the record.
“The rain has cooled some people down a bit. But the most important thing is that we had a great time, ”said Jules Lesieur, co-president of the Landerneau carnival organizing association. “In any case, we will be the biggest gathering of smurfs in the rain,” he joked.
“It is a demonstration for the joy of living. We really hope to explode the counter, ”smiled before counting Christelle Merour, 50, in her hairdressing salon, where all the employees are disguised as the famous characters of the Belgian author Peyo. “Having these kinds of small events is good for people, it gives a boost to the heart. If people are having fun, that’s the main thing, ”adds Morgane Derrien, 25, also dressed as Smurfette by her side.
“Everyone loves it”
Bodies and faces painted blue, pants and caps white or red: smurfs, smurfettes or papa smurfs began to gather at the start of the afternoon in the small Breton town (16,000 inhabitants), 25 km east of east of Brest. Many merchants have lent themselves to the game by decorating their windows with Smurf figurines, comics or stickers.
“It’s nice, it’s a good atmosphere. Everyone loves it, it allows us to have a goal for fun. These days, it’s not easy, ”smiles Benoit Kermarec, 59, owner of the bar-tabac Le Gavroche, wearing a white cap and a blue T-shirt.
“The Smurfs represent an image of cheerfulness and it’s easy to dress up. You don’t have to buy a costume, ”boasts Jules Lesieur, co-president of the Landerneau carnival organizing association, to explain the popularity of this gathering, the second of its kind in three years. Officially, it is still the small German town of Lauchringen, on the German-Swiss border, which holds the world record for the largest gathering of Smurfs, with 2,762 participants on February 16, 2019.
A world record not approved in 2020
A year later, on March 7, 2020, Landerneau had however broken this record by welcoming 3,549 Smurfs. But the feat had not been validated by the Guinness Book, due to a missing document, according to the organizers. “This time, we are putting all the chances on our side. We double the counts and there will be several drones and cameras “to attest to the record, explains Jules Lesieur.
Unapproved, the 2020 attempt nevertheless made noise in Landerneau… and beyond the Alps. Some media in Italy, where 60 million people were then confined in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, had criticized an “irresponsible” demonstration.
“We must not stop living either as long as we can, it was the opportunity to also say that we are alive! “, had defended Patrick Leclerc, various right mayor of Landerneau. It was not until the day after the rally that the prefect of Finistère had banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people. “Coronavirus doesn’t matter! exclaimed one participant. “We are going to smurf the coronavirus! added another.
The video of the rally had been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. The world record attempt, intended to publicize the Landerneau festival, had “exceeded all our expectations”, confided to AFP Alain Péron, one of the organizers of the event. Before Germany, the previous record was held by Welsh students, who set it at 2,510 participants in 2009 in Swansea, according to the Guinness World Records website.