Rally cars, autographs, shops and commercial establishments open, activities
The party already kicks off on Friday evening in Bastogne!
If on the one hand the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2017 promises to be both spectacular and exciting on Saturday the 18th and Sunday the 19th February, it should be said that the big party kicks off as from the Friday evening. Following the first successful experience some twelve months previously, the organisers decided to go flat out again in full collaboration with the town of Bastogne, as also with the Retail Traders and Shopkeepers’ Association …
“Last year when deciding to close off Bastogne’s main arterial and commercial street as from the early evening, in order to display the major portion of the cars a few hours prior to the start, we did not know what to expect when it came to the general public, Pierre Delettre recalls. And then what with the rather complicated climatic conditions, and as such a very ‘Legend Boucles’ on Saturday and Sunday, on Friday evening the sky remained clement, and a true horde of spectators descended on the town! We knew then that we were on the right track, and that our rally was far more than a sporting event. From henceforth we could call it a fully-fledged event, and we wanted to capitalise on this aspect with a view to the 2017 edition…”
Which signifies that the Friday evening programme, which will start at 18.00hrs with the traditional autograph session under the Place Mc Auliffe marquee in the presence of the top teams – starting off with Thierry Neuville and Nicolas Gilsoul – will be well filled. “And this year all the competitors, without exception, will be invited to display their cars in the main shopping street, that will obviously be pedestrian for the occasion, Pierre Delettre continued. Which implies that there will be even more cars than last year! “
What is more, this year all the going-concerns in the centre of town will remain open until 22.00hrs! As such a family oriented public is expected for this major party on the eve of the start… “Let’s be honest, last year nobody had really anticipated that the display of the cars would have been such a popular success, lain Gaussin, President of the Retail Traders and Shopkeepers’ Association of Bastogne interceded. All the catering establishments obviously came out on top, and very quickly it became apparent that every other going-concern located in the High Street could take advantage of this. Consequently, and with full enthusiasm most of the shopkeepers located between the tank on the Place Général Mc Auliffe and the church at the bottom of the rue du Sablon have accepted to keep the doors of their boutiques open until 22.00hrs! This means that the Friday evening rendezvous is aimed at a large family oriented public, as while the fathers and their sons will be admiring the cars and chasing after autographs, the mothers and their daughters will be able to give themselves over to the joys of shopping in a true party atmosphere! As in Bastogne, the possibilities of enjoying a drink or having a bite are numerous, and we can already foresee large crowds until late into the evening. Thanks to the various free parking areas permanently accessible, everyone will have the opportunity of leaving their car within close proximity of the town centre …
But that is not all! A question of further increasing these few hours of jubilation, the Legend Boucles @ Bastogne 2017 partners have decided to put on a great spread. As such J’Joy will celebrate its ‘Flower Power’ concept by distributing flower garlands to all the children. InBev will be on hand for a tasting of its new Jupiler 00, and seeing it is alcohol free totally consistent with this month of February’s ‘Tournée Minérale’, while a ‘photo’ activity will be organised by the RTBF in a coach present for the occasion. Add to that some great musical atmosphere thanks to two bands, the ‘Choffleux d’Buses’ from La Roche, who will be performing from 18.30hrs through to 21.30hrs, and another group based on percussions. Enough to liven up the Place Mc Auliffe.
Over the rally weekend and similar to last year the town of Bastogne will be reliving ‘its’ Legend Boucles, with for the occasion the commercial windows and shopfronts especially decorated with the rally theme. A new major competition will reward the most inventive or original designs! It is worth the challenge …
“Allowing the drivers, co-drivers and rally fans to profit from a new playground, the most exceptional ever seen in Belgium, Bastogne and the region has placed their full trust in us, Pierre Delettre continued. As from that moment the ball was in our court to leave no stone unturned and ensure that Bastogne and all the communes passed through will be delighted with this collaboration. As it is now a known fact that the town will be swarming with people on Friday evening, and with this flood of people throughout the three days in the middle of a month of February that is generally quiet once Saint-Valentin is over, this is our way of thanking all those that make it possible for the Legend Boucles to run smoothly. If on the one hand our two categories ‘Legend’ and ‘Classic’ will only have one winner following the stages on Saturday and Sunday, from the organisers’ point of view, we place a value on everyone being able to win something in this adventure. That’s win-win, and that we value more than ever. Let the party begin!”