Smurfs — fictional small, blue gnome-like creatures who live in mushroom-shaped houses in the forest — apparently have a loyal following of fans who love to meet up in costume in large numbers, even during a coronavirus outbreak.
On Saturday, 3,549 Smurf cosplayers painted blue and wearing the characters' signature floppy hats gathered in Landerneau, France, to break the current Guinness World Record of the largest group of people dressed as Smurfs. Last year, the Guinness World Record was awarded to a group of 2,762 Smurf cosplayers who gathered in Germany.
A video report from the AFP News Agency shows thousands of blue cosplayers happily congregating together hugging, drinking, dancing and basically acting like … Smurfs.
"We figured we wouldn't worry, and that as French people we wouldn't give up on our attempt to break the record," one Smurf said in the AFP video. "Now we're champions of the world … there's no risk. We're going to Smurferize the coronavirus!"
The comical stunt wouldn't be so newsworthy if not for the fact that France, along with many other countries, is urging citizens not to hang out in large crowds for fear of spreading COVID-19. On Tuesday, Landerneau mayor Patrick Leclerc defended the event. "We must not stop living. .. it was the chance to say that we are alive," Leclerc told AFP.
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The Smurfs event happened just before France banned gatherings of over 1,000 people to try to prevent COVID-19 from getting worse.
On March 1, the Louvre, the world's largest art museum and one of the most famous in France, temporarily closed due to concerns from staff about the possible spread of COVID-19 among the many visitors who pass through the museum daily. Around 9.6 million people visited the museum in 2019.
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While it's sweet to see so many cosplayers celebrate the Smurfs (who originated from a popular Belgian comic franchise before it became a beloved kids cartoon worldwide in the '80s), it's also horrifying to see them all in such close contact when a dangerous virus is on the loose. That's just Smurfin' unsafe.