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Patras Carnival opening with procession, party, and a 'chocolate war'

Featured Patras Carnival opening with procession, party, and a 'chocolate war'

The annual Patras Carnival will open on Saturday with a ceremony at the main square of Aghios Georgios.

The pre-Lent festival will conclude on March 17, a Sunday. This year's theme is "Be Unplugged!" and the events will begin on Wednesday (January 16), with town crier (Maria Agouridi) riding on a musical float, announcing the famed carnival's start, and calling the public to gather at the square.

On Saturday morning, a procession will take place with musical bands, carnival bicycles, the organizers, the carnival queen (Georgia Sakka), and other celebrants. Then Patras Mayor Kostas Peletidis will receive the carnival's banner.

At 18:00 on Saturday a party will start at the Aghios Georgios Square, while at 20:00, the theater troupe Helix and a Baroque procession will leave from the City Hall to parade through the city with participants including actors, musicians, acrobats, fire jugglers, and Harlequins. This is the traditional Saturday night parade, not the spectacular Grand Parade at the close of the carnival.

At 21:00, the mayor will declare the official opening of the Patras Carnival, to be followed by the traditional 'chocolate war', during which the city's confectioners throwing chocolates from the City Hall's balcony. A concert will also take place and the start of the annual Treasure Hunt will be also declared.

The official schedule of the carnival has not been announced yet, while festivities every year include surprises.

The Patras Carnival is the largest in Greece and involves preparations that begin a year earlier, with a large number of volunteers as well.