Hare Krishna in Venice
A car on the Calatrava Bridge

Venice Carnival 2011: The prequel

Cedar Imboden Phillips in Venice

ABOVE: A Loden-coated capitana pledges allegiance to the pantegana who stars in the "Flight of the Rat" on Venice's Cannaregio Canal.

Venice's Carnival normally runs for 11 days. In 2011, however, the organizers added a preview weekend on February 19 and 20, possibly because Carnevale is so late this year (February 26-March 8).

Today (Sunday, February 20), locals celebrated a "Venetian Festival on the Water" as an alternative to the more tourist-oriented Carnival events in the Piazzo San Marco.

In laate morning, a boat parade headed down the Grand Canal, turned right into the Cannaregio Canal, and finished up at the Ponte dei Tre Archi.

There, at noon, the mayor and other local officials gave their official blessing to the second annual Svolo della Pantegana or "Flight of the Rat," which is a good-natured parody of the annual "Flight of the Angel" in the Piazza San Marco (an event where a celebrity in an elaborate costume descends into the square on a cable while crowds of tourists, costumed bigwigs, and TV crews look on).

After landing in the canal, the giant rat replica floated amid the boats while onlookers headed for stands along the canal that were serving free food and wine supplied by local restaurants. The atmosphere was good-natured and unpretentious, and the crowd--though large--wasn't nearly so overwhelming as the mob that will clog the streets around the Piazza San Marco next Sunday.

Below are two videos that Cheryl took today: one of the boat parade, and the other showing the "Flight of the Rat" immediately afterward. 




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Greece’s 4th biggest city has just launched a planet-wide internet channel to show off the biggest event of the year – a first for any city in the world!

The Patras Carnival is the largest such event in Greece and one of the biggest carnivals in Europe with more than 160 years of history.

Our carnival is not a single event but a variety of events that includes balls, parades, treasure hunt game, kids’ carnival and more.

The high point is the last weekend (5th and 6th of March) with the Saturday evening parade of carnival groups, the extravagant Sunday parade of floats and groups, and finally the ritual burning of King Carnival at the St. Nikolaos Street wharf in the harbour of Patras.

This year an enlightened organization committee the PCPWME * are pleased to announce a WORLD WIDE FIRST – an initiative that will allow anyone with access to the internet across our whole planet to watch and join in the festivities.

The Patras Carnival web channel http://www.carnivalpatras.tv is already broadcasting extracts of older and more recent Carnival events.

Friends of the carnival will be informed about the activities of the carnival from the Carnival Press news channels on the site, culminating in three internet LIVE broadcasted carnival events:

Don’t miss!!!

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