Cats in Fables, Fairytales and Festivals
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Two Other Cat Festivals
[ 'Other' in view of the Ypres Cat Festival or Kattenstoet, described separately ]
Cat'n Around Catskill
Since the summer of 2007 the village of Catskill in New York State has held a rather unusual kind of cat festival, a street art exhibition which they called Cat'n Around, and presumably their intention is to hold a similar one each year.
The idea is that decorated, larger-than-life feline busts are placed along main downtown village streets. They are available from about February, when the unadorned busts arrive from Chicago where they are made, until June when the festival opens, for artists to embellish and decorate in whatever style they please, producing an array of capricious, whimsical and fantastical cat figures. The Cat'n Around website has a fun and informative Animal Planet video clip about the Festival (best viewed full screen. You can stop it before the ads at the end!) In addition, the 54 finished figures for 2011 can be seen by taking the link to 'Artists' from the menu. All are pictured, together with brief details of the artist responsible for each. There are some very imaginative designs, as illustrated by the few examples shown here from earlier years.
A YouTube clip shows the 2007 cats in their positions in the town, and in our opinion is well worth a view as it gives a better idea of the size of the statues and their variety, but be aware that not everyone liked them and some of the comments are quite uncomplimentary. Images of many of the 2007 cats in situ are also here.
After adorning the Catskill streets throughout the summer, the festival culminates in a live auction of the cat figures at a 'Cat's Meow Auction and Gala' held in the autumn, for which tickets are sold. Proceeds benefit local non-profit organisations, and also provide a scholarship for a graduating student from Catskill High School to further his or her education in the arts. The 2008 event was sold out and 30,000 dollars was put back into the community from the proceeds, the highest figure paid for a single cat being 4,500 dollars. Photos of the 2008 gala auction are available from the Photo Gallery at the Cat'n Around site linked above.
Details of how to obtain tickets for the auction can also be found there. If any reader goes to Catskill during the time the cats are on display in the streets, we'd love to receive some photos of them 'on location'!
2013 update: Although the website we link to above does not seem very up to date, there is an active and current Facebook page, with some great images. It seems that the Cat'n Around Festival is now well established as an annual event.
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Moon Cat Festival in Spain
For the past six years the Moon Cat Festival has been held in Lloret de Mar, on the Costa Brava in Spain, for a week around the beginning of March. The 2011 event was held from 26th February 2011 until 5 March. I quote:
"If you want to forget about your age, debts, depression and become a March Cat for one week, we're waiting for you at the Club Festival "Moon Cat" in Spain, in Lloret de Mar (Costa Brava). Amazing, colourful and original holiday, participants from different countries, painting, sculpture, photo, arts and crafts exhibitions, cinema, fashion show "Cats-show", artists, painters, musicians, discos ..."
If you think you might be interested in going to this event another year, you should read the detailed programme carefully; it should be on the internet some weeks beforehand. If you go to this site and click on the right-hand 'window' (labelled 'Festival') in the roof of the building, you will be taken to a page where there are links to photo galleries of previous Festivals up until 2009, but the site does not seem to be up to date and so we don't know whether there is to be a 2012 event. These festivals do look to be really exciting and colourful events, although they are not like the festival at Ypres which people just go to watch. Rather, you are expected to take an active part in them, with a fancy dress parade and competition, dancing, karaoke and other activities for the really keen cat lover! They are run as week-long package holidays, and only those on the holiday can participate; most activities are not open to the general public, although it seems that the public can join in the parade through the town that you would take part in (in fancy dress). Also part of the programme involves an excursion for 3 nights to Madrid, Barcelona, or one of two destinations in France, although you can choose to remain in the Lloret de Mar hotel instead and make local trips.
Other pages accessible from the museum home page give more information about the museum itself, which looks to be well worth a visit in its own right if you cannot or do not wish to take part in the Festival.
2013 update: The website linked to above is not up to date and is still announcing a 2012 event so we don't know whether the Moon Festival is still taking place or not.
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Our featured feline at the head of the page: it was with great regret that I decided to let Pushkin be 'put to sleep' early in 2006, following intractable health problems, a gloomy prognosis and a much diminished quality of life. He was a 'rescue cat' of uncertain age, but I would guess 12 years or more. He will be remembered with great affection as a cat with perfect manners: a gentle soul who seemed even more inscrutable than the average feline. There's a small tribute to him here.
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Page created December 2008, with later revisions and additions