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As the world was preparing to shut down in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic last weekend, France broke a weird world record for the largest gathering of people dressed like Smurfs. Nearly 4,000 people looking like the little blue beings created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo came together in Landerneau, France, for what must be one of the strangest rallies in human history.
Shortly thereafter, the country officially banned gatherings of 1,000 people or more. To date, the coronavirus has infected 120,000 people worldwide and killed 4,300.
"We must not stop living ... it was the chance to say that we are alive," Landerneau mayor Patrick Leclerc recently told Agence France-Presse (via France 24) in a statement. "We got our costumes from all the shops in the area and we figured that a bit of fun would do us all good at the moment."
"There's no risk — we're Smurfs! Yes, we're going to Smurfise the coronavirus!" one attendee reportedly said to AFP (via CBS).
Having spawned a multimedia franchise of shows, films, games, and general swag, the Smurfs are some of the most immediately recognizable characters on the planet. A bit like the seven dwarves in Snow White, each Smurf is named after their distinct personality. Known for their trademark blue skin and white garments, Smurfs live in tiny mushroom houses in the forest.
The spread of COVID-19 has led to the delay or flat-out cancellation of films, conventions, festivals, sporting events, and more. Yesterday, Paramount decided to postpone A Quiet Place Part II, while Disney did the same for Mulan, New Mutants, and Antlers. Disneyland, Disney World, and Universal Studios are all temporarily closing down until the virus can be contained. Today, Marvel's Shang-Chi and Amazon's Wheel of Time halted their respective productions.
To help take your mind off all the craziness for a minute, we've cultivated a collection of primo images from the French Smurf rally. Not even Gargamel can resist these photos!
This story presents some humorous responses to coronavirus, but COVID-19 is very real! Please exercise caution out there: Wash those hands, keep them away from your face, and practice social distancing. For extensive information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, check out the CDC’s coronavirus website.