“In any case, we will be the biggest gathering of Smurfs in the rain. Decorated stores, passers-by made up in blue: thousands of Smurfs converged on Landerneau (Finistère) on Saturday. Not to demonstrate against pension reform, but for a new world record attempt, after the one that made the buzz in 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic. The record to beat was 2,762 people in disguise. But with just over 2,6,000 Smurfs in hostile weather, the record narrowly escaped the small Breton town. “The rain chilled some people. But the most important thing is that we had a great time, ”said Jules Lesieur, co-president of the Landerneau carnival organizing association.
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 Breton city (16,000 inhabitants), 25 km east of Brest. “We wanted to help Finisterians reach the world record,” confided Anne-Louise Prigent, a 48-year-old real estate agent, who came disguised as Smurfette with a friend. “The Smurfs are fun, they hide wrinkles and we like being blondes,” joked Nathalie Klogot, a 43-year-old nurse, next to her.
“It gives balm to the heart”
Many merchants have lent themselves to the game by decorating their windows with Smurf figurines, comics or stickers. “It’s a demonstration for the joy of living,” smiles Christelle Merour, 50, in her hairdressing salon, where all the employees are dressed up 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. “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, dressed in a white cap and a blue T-shirt.
Officially, it is therefore still the small German town of Lauchringen, on the German-Swiss border, which holds the world record for the largest gathering of Smurfs, on February 16, 2019. A year later, on March 7, 2020, Landerneau had yet broke 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. 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.
The previous attempt had made the buzz
“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 Alain Péron, one of the organizers of the event.
Before Germany, the previous record was held by Welsh students, who had established it at 2,510 participants in 2009 in Swansea, according to the Guinness World Records website.