A French Kiwanis club discovers the power of laughter

Kiwanis International | Nov 29, 2022

Dian-Pays de Rance comedy event

The Kiwanis Club of Dinan-Pays de Rance was already famous for organizing nautical jousting on the Rance River in Dinan, France, for 19 years. At this free summertime event, 6,000 delighted onlookers gather to watch more than 20 costume-wearing teams, each representing neighboring towns and villages. Each team fights to have its jouster be the last one to fall from the team’s boat into the river waters. Top prizes are donated to the municipalities represented by the winning teams. All proceeds go to their community centers.  

With that annual success, the Dinan club members wanted to take their fundraising further.  

“Projects are the glue that binds the club together,” Club President Jean-Yves Vaillant says. “We never want to put all our eggs in the same basket and rely only on the nautical jousting. This is how we decided to plan, among other projects, the comedy festival Din’en rire.”   

The one-day festival features comedians who are starting their careers, as well as more seasoned artists. Now in its fourth year, the festival took place at the elegant Théâtre des Jacobins. The mayor’s office is so grateful for the summer nautical jousting event and its benefits to local businesses that it lets the club use the theater for free. In November 2022, the festival started with eight up-and-coming comedians — four women and four men — who battled with their wits to be voted worthy of opening the evening show, which featured well-known French comedian Régis Mailhot.  

The name of the comedy festival, “Din’en rire”, is a play on words based on the name of the town, Dinan, and “en rire”, for laughs.

At the end of the evening, the club awarded checks from the festival’s proceeds to three associations:  Din’handisport, a sports club for youth with various disabilities, so they can cover travel costs to attend sporting events; Handichien, an organization that trains dogs for people who need their help and comfort; and ZBTB 18 Tous ensemble, an association that helps children suffering from a rare genetic disease.   

After the shows, recipients and Kiwanians mingled with the comedians — and discussed the next event that could help kids and bind the club members closer together.


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