The fairgrounds were already there. They had mounted the Ferris wheel, as well as most of the attractions, and wanted to believe that the fair would eventually open after the containment was lifted. Despite their pressure, the Throne Fair will not take place this year.
Given the epidemic of Covid-19, the Mayor of Paris and the prefect of police jointly decided on Wednesday 1er April, to cancel the 2020 edition of the biggest fair in France. The oldest also, since its origins date back to 957, the year of famine when King Lothaire authorized the baker monks of Saint-Antoine Abbey to sell their bread to the population. Over the years, the fair has turned into a party, with jugglers, jugglers and today attractions such as self-bumper and roller coasters.
This year, the party was originally scheduled to take place from March 27 to May 24 in the 12e district of Paris, at the edge of the Bois de Vincennes. The opening date had already been postponed, but the fairgrounds in their caravans still had a slight hope of saving the fair anyway.
On Tuesday, feeling the cancellation coming, they put on the table a final counter-proposal. Since the Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, mentioned a possible reopening of schools on May 4, the leaders of the fairground association, Le Monde Festif, wrote to Anne Hidalgo and Didier Lallement to offer to postpone the fair . In this scenario, it would have been held from May 8 to June 14.
That “Would save at least part of the economy of the fairground world”, the officials wrote, emphasizing the economic and social stakes. The Foire du Trône, which welcomes around three million visitors a year, employs 2,000 people on site, along with employees. “It alone represents a good third of the annual turnover of the fairgrounders concerned”, advances Marcel Campion, the “king of the fairgrounds”.
This proposal did not, however, convince the prefect of police or the mayor of Paris. “Even if the deconfinement takes place in May, it will be gradual, and it did not seem possible to maintain a large gathering under these conditions, explains Emmanuel Grégoire, Anne Hidalgo’s first assistant. We preferred to anticipate a fairly inevitable decision, and immediately warn the fairgrounds. “ The 200 or so families already settled there are nevertheless authorized to remain there until June 14, the date initially scheduled for their departure.
A “very brutal” decision
“We are well aware of reality”, reacts Marcel Campion. At the entrance to the fair, a message “Support for all hospital staff” is displayed under the huge portal. “The decision is still very brutal, he adds. There could have been at least one discussion. Why not give us hope? ”
For the entrepreneur, also a candidate for the Mairie de Paris – his lists won 0.4% of the vote in the first round, on March 15 – this cancellation constitutes new proof of the degraded relations between the Mairie de Paris and the fairground world . “Perhaps the City no longer loves fairgrounds …”, he suggests, referring to another recent episode: “This winter, the City wanted to grass one third of the fair site. There was an appeal, and an expertise was awaited, before confinement blocked everything. ”
The City of Paris says it is ready to “Accompany the fairgrounds”, in particular by helping them to benefit from the support mechanisms for economic actors set up by the State. “But obviously, there is a lot of cash in this kind of fair, everything is not declared, which makes total coverage by insurance or the state more difficult,” slips an expert.
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