Landscape-tales

Where there is a river there is sand….

In la Roche-en-Ardenne, in my hometown, we have rocks, we have woods, we have the city and for fourteen years, at the beginning of the summer holidays we have three days ‘Baltus Beach,’ a 4000 m² beach, in front of the river Ourthe.

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A beach to enjoy, with family, with friends, to eat and to drink, to socialize….Main goal are the sport events; volley and soccer. The idea to organize sportive competitions on sand started with a group of Carnival Friends as a folk event in the region. It was then called ‘Beach weekend in La Roche.’ It was small and after two/three years the friends gave up. But luckily the event was taken over. 90 tons of sand in its early stages became this year 900 tons of sand delivered by thirty trucks. ‘Baltus Beach,’ that got this name eight years ago from a well known butchery in the city, is the second event taking place on sand for Walloon /Brussels. Every year the event attracts a lot of visitors from Belgium but also from other countries to La Roche-en-Ardenne.

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Coordinator and driving force behind the whole event is ‘Thomas Gillet.’ From six years old he helped organizing games in the Floreal Club. A club nearby the place he lived. It became a passion. Besides giving hydrotherapy two days in the week to disabled children, he also established ‘Event Production company Woody-Wood,’ his own company. The name ‘Woody-Wood,’ combines Holly- Wood with the woods of La Roche-en-Ardenne and is easy expressed in different languages. Woody-Wood has connections in France, US, Germany, Netherlands…. Traditional demands are not their core business, events as Baltus beach or organizing Italian cuisine for businesses, individuals or groups, is. The preparations for ‘Baltus Beach’ started already about six months ago. And then Thomas talks about sponsors, partners, staff, representatives of the tournaments, graphic issues, the marketing….Thirty people were involved to make the whole area ready. Last year 1000 people from several clubs mainly from Walloon took part in the tournaments. This year the tournaments are limited. Next year, will be different. Then the 15th anniversary will be celebrated. ‘Woody-Wood’ refers also to the ‘WoW’ effect he wants to create.

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