In the United States, yacht clubs have "Opening Day," a day of festivities in late spring that signifies the beginning of sailing season. At Pont a Bar this year, they inaugurated their Opening Day with a blowout fete on Friday night.
Activity began on Thursday afternoon when the trucks arrived with the tent, tables and chairs. Friday morning the setup began in earnest with the tent going up and places being set for the 150 people expected for dinner and entertainment.
The festivities began around 8 pm when a plastic garbage can filled with homemade sangria appeared.
This served to get the crowd prepared for the bagpipe club from nearby Sedan which performed.
The drummer cut quite and impressive figure.
And Cathy thought one of the pipers was "the typical Frenchman."
After a few tunes, everyone proceeded to the tent where we took our places and waited for our chance at the food, a delicious paella, and of course, the wine that could be purchased to accompany the meal.
Several people have kept their boats for many years at Pont a Bar. There was a woman from Cologne, Germany who owns a converted Dutch barge called "the Royal Gigglish," a man from Luxembourg who keeps his small Dutch cruiser there, and the collection of boaters like us who are transient or completing major projects. One couple, Andy and Petra Busse, are German but have lived for the last several years in Spain where they were sailboat riggers. They bought a boat last year and intended to cruise the canals but decided it needed some interior work. After the destruction was finished, they needed a whole new interior. They are performing the work at Pont a Bar. All the boaters were in attendance, as well as a lot of people we didn't know. Much wine was consumed and everybody became good friends!
At the conclusion of the meal, a local singing group appeared and kept us well entertained. You might remember the "shanty koor" we attended at the end of our first summer in Holland. This certainly reminded us of that.
By about 11 pm the singers were done but one of the local boaters brought out his "squeeze box" and kept everybody going for a little longer.
About 1 am, we had finally had enough. We were supposed to be leaving in the morning (oops! it already was!) but we weren't sure our heads or bodies would permit it.