Fête de l’Iris

It’s time to party like it’s your birthday this weekend! Well, Brussels’ birthday that is.

This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the Brussels Capital Region and to celebrate the city is holding the annual Fête de l’Iris (Iris Festival) this weekend. Brussels became an autonomous region in 1989, following the revision of the Belgian constitution, and adopted the yellow iris as its emblem a few years later. The iris flower is native to the Brussels area as it grows well in the swamps that once covered the city. 

The festival’s two-day program includes loads of free concerts and activities in the Royal Palace district, as well as an open day in the Brussels Parliament.

On Saturday, things kick off at 3pm with a soapbox car race sponsored by Redbull, which will start at the Place Royal and end the Place de l’Albertine. There are over 80 teams signed up already so this should be a fun race to watch. There will also be an after party to celebrate the winners around 5:30pm. If you’ve never seen one of these races, here’s a little clip from a couple of years ago to give you an idea.

The party continues on Saturday night with performances by English singer Julian Perretta at 8:30pm and Belgian artist Ozark Henry at 10pm at the Place des Palais.

Sunday will be jammed packed with activities, including a classical music concert at the Musical Instrument Museum and a showing of folklore giants in the Brussels Parliament. Mont des Arts will host a children’s village and information booths from various museums and groups. Check out the full schedule here

As part of the Brusselisious 2012 celebrations, Mont des Arts will also be the site of the first piQniQ event, a touring picnic that will set up in different parks each weekend this summer. Those who want to partake just need to bring a blanket and can make a meal from the various small shops that will have food on offer.

If you’re new to town, The Bulletin magazine is offering free guided tours throughout the day on Sunday. Sign up here.

The festival concludes with more concerts on Sunday evening, including a performance by French singer Gérald De Palmas. I’m not sure if he will sing the happy birthday song, but at least I will. Happy birthday to you Brussels!

Images via Fete de l’Iris and Fond Ecran Image.

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