Sunday, July 16, 2000

Montgomery's Bastille crazy after all these years

French-style street fair celebrates sister-city ties

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONTGOMERY — Erich and Irma Halfter felt obligated to drive from Anderson Township Saturday and take in the sights, sounds and taste of Bastille Day.

(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        Their daughter, Carolyn Halfter, has lived in France for the past 30 years in a suburb of Paris. In fact, she has dual citizenship.

        “She's a French person now,” Mr. Halfter said.

        “Not really, half and half,” said Mrs. Halfter, who carried a loaf of French bread under her arm.

        The Halfters were among hundreds of people who arrived early Saturday for Montgomery's annual one-day street fair that pays homage to the French national holiday and acknowledges the city's sister-city relationship with Neuilly-Plaisance, a city of 18,000 about 10 miles east of Paris.

        It was the fifth year that Montgomery has blocked off its historic district on Montgomery Road from Cooper Road to Remington Street. Food booths lined each side of the street, while entertainment and bands performed at the Cooper Road end of the street.

        Alvin Wulfekuhl of Clifton sought out the Universalist Church on the corner of Montgomery and Remington, where an exhibition of paintings by Frederic Bonin Pissarro were being displayed. The paintings by the great-grandson of the French impressionist painter Camille Pissarro was one of the highlights of Bastille Day and drew a steady stream of visitors, including children.

        “I know this is a popular holiday in New Orleans,” Mr. Wulfekuhl said as he walked outside the church. “But I don't think Cincinnati has ever had a large French population. I'm glad to see this.”

        More than 150 volunteers helped staff this year's Bastille Day, which lasted until 11 p.m. In addition to French bread, baguette sandwiches, wine and beer, visitors could also munch on pizza, popcorn, buffalo wings, Sno-Kones, gumbo, gyros, burritos and funnel cakes.


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