After not having the Cherry Festival last year in 2009, the City of Sefrou made up for it by having an incredible Festival in 2010. This year celebrated 90 years since the festival was first started in 1920.
The Cherry Festival was not without controversey as the Cherry Queen this year was from Marrakesh and this caused a lot of upset among local trade unions and Sefroui people.
Organizers explained that they want to open up the festival to all of Morocco and by allowing ‘Miss Cherry’ to be from anywhere in Morocco, they were gaining exposure and making the festival more accessible to everyone.
The festival was filled with historical expositions, fantasias (which happened right next door to the Souidi house!), concerts, performances by local tribal musicians, and artisanal exhibits from neighboring villages.
Hanane and I were in the thick of it all. Everywhere we went, people were talking about the beautiful transformation of Sefrou. All of the curbs were painted, buildings were painted, gardens were planted, and beautiful art and historic prints were hung everywhere.
In addition to the carnival, there was the Fantasia villages where the Berber horsemen constantly rode in sorties while firing their ancient black powder muskets.
A human development village outlined all the programs for human health and development that the province has been embracing and engaging. From bee keeping to cleaner water, to public health campaigns, to creating schools for rural girls and boys.
The usually dusty and dirty grand taxi station was transformed into a village of Berber tents with each tent hosted by different Berber tribes from teh surrounding hills. A central stage was constantly occupied by dancers, musicians, and story tellers from these villages.
While the crowning of the Cherry Queen was a VIP only event which we somehow didn’t find our invitation for,
the parades on Saturday and Sunday were packed with thousands upon thousands of people waving and cheering as The Cherry Queen, Cherry themed floats, and marching bands filled the streets with merriment.
There were sports competitions, poetry readings, historic photo exhibits, and really enough to keep anyone occupied for the entire time they were there.
And then there were the cherries! MMMMMMM!
We saw almost no unhappy faces through the weekend…until it was time to go that is. At that point the Grand taxi drivers began playing their usual games. Since they had more people than usual, the prices were inflated by 100% and since they were making more than usual, about half of them called it a day and went home, thus making the crowd more agitated.
Luckily for us, we found an honest taxi man and got back to Fez with no problems.