Amelia Island Welcomes Pétanque Players and Spectators

Press Release: AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. Amelia Island’s surprising French flair will be showcased during the Pétanque Amelia Island Open (Nov. 10-12), the largest pétanque event in the Americas, where world champions join enthusiastic newcomers for competition and camaraderie. Free to spectators, the tournament draws world champions and players from across the 50 states and more than 19 countries, including Mongolia and New Zealand. The competition and related festivities unfold at the waterfront courts at Fernandina Harbor marina from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 12. Highlights of the weekend’s activities can be found at http://bit.ly/petanqueamelia.

“Amelia Island is perfect for pétanque, a social sport with international appeal,” said Kate Harris, the Amelia Island CVB’s director of digital and international, who is producing this year’s tournament. “With our French history, harborfront historic district, and beaches, the island is not unlike the Mediterranean coast where pétanque began. During the weekend, you’ll hear dozens of languages and meet people from all over the world. It’s a true celebration of ‘joie de vivre’ on this Florida island.”

The event is free to spectators and will feature food trucks, live music at lunchtime, pop-up French lessons presented by the Alliance Francaise of Jacksonville, and artisan cocktails from Amelia Island’s own distillery, Marlin & Barrel.

The game of pétanque (pronounced pay-tonk) is growing in popularity around the world and, integrated with similar games such as bocce, is currently under consideration to be played in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. Teams of players compete and throw hollow steel balls across a hard-packed dirt course, aimed at a colorful wooden ball called the pig.

The 2017 event will feature a number of world champions, including 12-time champion Phillipe Quintais; Dylan Rocher, dubbed “The Crown Prince of Pétanque;” along with world champions Damien Hureau, Julien Lamour, Marco Foyot, Claudy Weibel, and seven-time champion, Bruno Le Bouriscaud.

Camille Durand, one of the up-and-coming stars of pétanque and the winner of France’s top national women’s title, will be making her first U.S. tournament appearance on Amelia Island. On Friday, Nov. 10, the finals of the Women’s Confederation Cup will take place at the harborfront courts. World Champions will be hosting training sessions and playing friendly matches against enthusiastic amateurs. At 4 p.m., two young talents (both aged 13) and their teams of veteran players will compete in a special Panam Confederation contest.

For more information, go to ameliapetanque.com.

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