Redhead days – celebrating the rare
Breaking that world record for the largest number of redheads in one place is a standing item on the agenda of Redhead Days, a festival held every September in the southern Dutch city of Breda.
The current record is 1721 redheads, and the assembled throng jamming the city’s Valkenberg Park included people who had came from countries as far afield as Brazil, Ireland, Denmark, Tunisia, the US, Scotland and Iraq. The only common denominator was that they were all born with the same hair color.
Barely two percent of the world’s population are natural redheads. But there are a wide variety of shades – strawberry blond, chestnut, orange, mahogany, copper and the occasional flaming red.
The festival’s founder, Bart Rouwenhorst, is not himself a redhead, but can relate to the feeling of standing out. “Late in life, I realized that there’s no need to blend in, but instead to grasp hold of what makes us unique and run with it,” he says. “And that uniqueness is something that I want to celebrate. I also think red hair is gorgeous.”
The next Redhead Days festival takes place on September 2 – 5, and will once again see the streets of Breda full of proud redheads socializing, competing, going on pub crawls and attending gigs, art exhibitions and tea parties.
Five global redhead events
Redhead Convention, Cork
One of the biggest events for redheads and their admirers takes place in Ireland. During one weekend in August, organizers crown a redhead king and queen and award prizes to competitors in fields such as reddest beard, best redhead grandmother and most freckles.
The annual RossItalia event takes place on the last Sunday in May in Milan, and includes hair styling, exhibitions, group photography and a huge dinner. Every year has a different dress code.
Night of the Walking Red, Troy
Tucked away in New York State is the small town of Troy, whose mayor has renamed it Ginger City. For the past few years the town has held parades under the banner Night of the Walking Red, for which the local brewery has created a special pumpkin ale.
Redhead Days Chicago, Chicago
In Highwood, just over an hour outside of Chicago, a sister event to the Dutch festival in Breda has sprung up, featuring two days of live music, food trucks, red-themed cocktails and a competition to determine who can bake the most delicious carrot cake.
Highwood, June 4–5
Text: Linn Bergbrant
Published: September 8, 2016