The Christmas in Europe organisers found an unusual solution for housing the exhibition and the twenty-odd cubicles intended for the delegations. They rented a marquee which was installed for the duration of the event in a park not far from the Fátima shrine.
Drying off the marquee
The cold nights in Fátima caused ice to form on the canvas of this same marquee, and the ice turned to water as soon as the sun appeared. Consequently all the surfaces had to be dried off, which was no small task, but not one to discourage the delegations as they erected their stands.
The EHF’s gymnasium was much used as a dining hall throughout Christmas in Europe, for the traditional buffets, the European buffets and for the gala evening. The room was appropriately transformed according to need. As you can see in these photos.
Happy birthday Marlène!
She can’t escape it! Ever since she started taking part in Christmas in Europe, Marlène Damião who heads the delegation from Ponta Delgada in the Azores, has been the subject of great attention on her birthday which is on December 5th. In Fátima, during the visit to Ourem Castle, they sang a vibrant ‘Happy Birthday’ to her in the bright sunshine, and when we returned to Fátima for the buffet, she was presented with a superb birthday cake created by the school pastry cooks, while another rendition of Happy Birthday was intoned by all the guests.
In addition to the stands of the different delegations the organisers had also arranged for several local craftsmen and craftswomen to supplement the exhibition. Thus we could watch Dona Ana at work in her embroidery workshop, or see Treeze, a workshop producing statues of the Virgin, not forgetting a young couple selling T-shirts and assorted bibs that were slightly irreverent!
Great success for the cook shows
Cookery demonstrations are highly successful wherever you go. In the marquee in Fátima, the chefs and the students put on the show which involved making local specialities, like the pancakes in this photo.
Warm atmosphere in the marquee
On Monday December 4th in the afternoon there were crowds of people in the marquee; this gave the students the idea of literally ‘warming up’ the public who showed obvious pleasure as they imitated dances which had been started off on the stage, then the rhythms taken up by the visitors.
The Orange Tree at Ourem Castle
During the visit to Ourem Castle we found a magnificent orange tree, bearing beautiful and tempting oranges, on the way up to the esplanade. Some of us admired it, others photographed it, and yet others didn’t hesitate to pick the oranges – even though it was obvious that this tree was growing on private property …
A perfect media plan
There’s no getting away from it, the EHF team did an excellent job of handling the newspaper and television coverage. Christmas in Europe attracted numerous articles in the regional press, reports on local and regional television channels, and, the icing on the cake, a story lasting several minutes on the public national channel.
The orange bag
After the culture show each participant was presented with an orange bag containing the usual promotional material for the EHF, including what may have been a bound notebook in which the participants could record their impressions. But this was not all: right at the bottom of the bag was a rosary necklace which thus exemplified Fátima’s holy status, being one of the most important places for the worship of the Virgin Mary.