Monday, January 26, 2009


If you happen to be passing through the Netherlands next year on the first weekend of September (hey, you never know), you might want to make a stop in Breda. The city, I've just discovered, hosts an extensive annual two-day redhead festival. About 2000 redheads from 15 countries made it for redheadday 2008, and its organizers project an attendance of 5000 in 2009. Last year, some Dutch calendars even set the celebration in stone, and officially designated the first Sunday of September as redheadday.

Redheadday began in 2005 as an idea of the Dutch painter Bart Rouwenhorst in the small city of Asten. The first festival drew 150 natural redheads. At the time, the event competed for publicity in Asten's newspapers with a local pumpkin contest. Owch. Then the Dutch national press got wind of it and redheadday made headline news.

The festival, now sponsored by the Dutch government and featuring free admission, moved to the larger venue of Breda in 2006. Redheadday is a myriad assemblage of art exhibitions, lectures, workshops and demonstrations, all geared specifically towards the red-haired sector of the world's population. The event's highlight, though, is a massive, organized-chaos redhead photoshoot on the final day. That's a lot of gingers.

Take that, pumpkin contest!

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