Pikinini Festival: A little fun for everyone

Photo Julie Harris

Photo Julie Harris

With a 2-week school holiday period approaching in a week, and long summer holidays in France, Nouméa appears to be emptying out. Europeans and “metros” return home to see family or travel to neighbouring countries to combat island fever during our winter (July and August, here in New Caledonia). But every other remaining family seemed to show up this weekend for 2 days of family fun at the annual Pikinini Festival at Centre Tjibaou (30 July, 2-3 August).

Photo Julie Harris

Photo Julie Harris

With our first visit to the festival we were pleasantly surprised by the wealth of activities and free shows planned for a single all-day entry of 1,500 CFP (AUD 18 or €13) per person:

  • Bingo for children as young as 3
  • A Kanak dance performance (“Wetr Kreation”)
  • Capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts show with children and adults
  • A clown duo (complete with whip, which was slightly frightening)
  • Japanese tales
  • Fable stories
  • Poetry, dance and yoga
  • A 45-minute, 3- interactive-workshop activity for children 5-12 years (on the history of LU cookies)
  • A 30-minute workshop on creating art out of recycled cans
  • A puppet show about protecting Mother Earth
  • A fun hip hop show
  • An impressive Vanuatu fire show (when night fell and people started walking on, and interacting with, fire)
Photo Julie Harris

Photo Julie Harris

Other shows and workshops were also available for just 800 CFP each (AUD 10 or €7). One could learn a bit of Capoeira or hip hop, get his/her face painted, buy lunch and coffee, watch a rendition of Snow White, hear a chorus sing Disney songs and attend a host of other shows.

The weather was stunning and just perfect for a day outside. We loved watching the Kanak dance performance as well as Capoeira with the group our son is taking classes with (it’s so fun to see young children master high kicks, handstands and controlled movement in space). There was a lot of singing, clapping, smiling and picture-taking. We learned that anyone can have fun at something new!

Photo Julie Harris

Photo Julie Harris

We also checked out the Recycl’Art and did the LU activity. Though we felt they could have been better organised, they were both interesting (I’d send older kids to Recyl’Art and stay with younger kids during the 3 ateliers for the LU activity).

Photo Julie Harris

Photo Julie Harris

All in all, it was a fun day which left us over-stimulated and tired. Although we were unable to stay for the fire show, we heard amazing things about it. So our recommendation would be to go for a whole day – and not miss the fire show. Take plenty of water, cameras and patience for when things are a little less well organised than you might have hoped. You’ll be sure to leave with smiles on your faces and happy memories of a day well spent.

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