From November 10-12, the Pétanque Amelia Island Open brings the world to our (formerly French) island for a weekend of competition and cameraderie. Here are 10 reasons you won't want to miss it:
1) This enchanting Florida island is bursting with the laid-back charm, warm ambiance, and joie de vivire
of the South of France. (Take a look at this homage to a famous French film
made right here.)
2) It's the largest tournament of its kind in the Americas
, this year over 185 teams will be playing, representing 23 states and 19 countries (including New Zealand, Mongolia, Australia, Norway, Germany, France, Mexico. and Israel.) One of the unique things about the sport is that top players and amateurs can play easily and happily against each other in the early rounds before the competition heats up in the finals.
3) The tournament is free to attend, and, in addition to watching the action, you can enjoy live music, food trucks, pop-up French lessons, and more all on the beautiful harborfront of Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach.
4) Seven World Champions will be on hand, including the most decorated 12-time chamption Philippe Quintais
, the young star Dylan Rocher (pictured) dubbed "The Crown Prince of Pétanque" along with World Champions Damien Hureau
, Julien Lamour
, Marco Foyot, Claudy Weibel
, and 7-time Chamption Bruno Le Bouriscaud
. (If you're here on Friday, you can take in the finals of the Women's Confederation Cup and special clinics with the World Champions at the harborfront courts.)
5) For the first time in the USA, we will welcome Camille Durand
, one of the up-and-coming stars of Pétanque and the winner of France's top national women's title.
6) Marlin and Barrel,
Amelia Island's own distillery, will be pouring speciality artisan cocktails crafted for the tournament.
7) Pétanque may soon be an Olympic sport: it's under consideration for the 2024 Games in Paris
and has strong support from around the world. Two promising young players will captain in a special matchup on Friday November 10th: Axel Cazenaves, who will be representing the US on the National Team at the World Championships, is just 13 years old and the youngest player to have that honor. He will play Parker Edwards from North Carolina, another up-and-coming young player.
8) Lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday features live music beginning around noon featuring local favorites Dan Voll and Michele along with a surprise guest.
9) Should you you become inspired, you can play Pétanque on Amelia Island any time: the Amelia Island Boules Club
hosts free and open pickup games on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The island's picture perfect, year-round, semi-tropical weather conditions make year-round play possible.
10) You can be first of your friends to know about Pétanque, a fast-growing sport that is accessible to all ages and abilities. Here are the basics: