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La Fête foraine was intended to re-create the atmosphere similar to that of a Middle Ages Festival, when street performers would roam the cities during the great market fairs of the period, done so to keep with the concept concerning entertain-ment ambiance and environ-ment. Their wish was to interact with the spectators in a more playful way, rather than being limited to the rigid formal social constraints of traditional performing environments. "When we decided that this event would take place downtown, we had a few objectives in mind: getting involved in the everyday life of the population that had encouraged our success so far, so as to be able to share with them the joy we had in just being alive" (Plein-Jour sur Charlevoix, July 14th, 1982).

For three years in a row, from 1982 to 1984, the Baie-Saint-Paul Fair was a tremendous success. For a whole week, the streets of Baie-Saint-Paul became the playground of a new generation of circus artists from Quebec, Canada, the United States and Europe. Le Club des talons hauts attracted notice, and Guy Laliberté, Daniel Gauthier, Gilles Ste-Croix, Robert Lagueux and manyothers began to cherish their crazy dream: to create a Québecois circus and take the troupe travelling around the world. This talented group of young Quebec street entertainers had come together under a lucky star. Although a full two years pass before Cirque du Soleil as we know it today is created, its founders say that it was at that mystic moment in Baie Saint-Paul in 1982 that Cirque du Soleil was conceived. The aurora borealis hits Baie Saint-Paul on the first day of La Fête Foraine. The sun has set but the sky is streaked with waves of otherworldly light. Green and silver refractions chase each other across the dome of the sky throughout the performance.

In 1983, as Québec prepared to celebrate the 450th anniversary celebration of the French explorer Jacques Cartier's discovery of Canada, a number of events were organized by the provincial government. A wild dream was growing in Laliberte's head: to create a new breed of circus, spectacular yet poetic, for adults and children alike. Club des Talons Hauts took advantage of their Fair as an occasion to propose the creation of a bona-fide circus. Guy Laliberté presented a proposal for a show called "Le Grand Tour du Cirque du Soleil" and at first Clément Richard, the Minister of Cultural Affairs, showed little interest in the idea, but the proposal was awarded a $1.6 million grant and the race was on.

1982 1984
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