A photo of a man dressed up as a wizard for the 2017 International Living Statues Festival.

A man dressed up as a wizard for the 2017 International Living Statues Festival, which was held in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Photo credit: Vitalinka / Shutterstock

Eight participating countries, 64 embodied statues, and about 30,000 spectators filled the Filipescu-Cesianu garden in Bucharest, Romania for the 2018 International Living Statues Festival. The costume festival featured members of the Romanian Masca Theatre, who dressed up as 17th-18th century Parisian street vendors.

“The festival, which is the largest European festival of its kind, aims to change perceptions of the art form as an occupation associated with amateurs or begging,” the Guardian reports.

But how could anyone consider the detail-oriented costume artists as unpolished? Kaleidoscope and silvery outfits of actors dressed as angels, rat poison vendors, Neptune, and more dazzled children and parents alike. One child enjoyed a Ukrainian artist so much, in fact, that she offered her ice cream to the character—a moment captured on camera that went viral.

However, other children and spectators were frightened by the event. The abrupt public interactions and high-pitched screams from performers made for an uneasy experience for some visitors. Even still, the living statues from the Netherlands, Germany, Britain, Romania, and more earned greater admiration than rebuke.

Three costumes were crowd favorites: one inspired by the Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi’s “Endless Column;” a pink, flowery “Rosita” character, performed by Tania Met (a member of the Gardener’s theatre in Spain); and a “Concordia” character garbed and painted in white, performed by an Artel Myth artist.

The event, also known as the World Living Statues Festival (WLSF), began 12 years ago to “amaze and entertain.” It is now associated with about 400 professional living statue artists.

With masses coming from around Europe to walk among the living statues, it’s safe to say that the character art form once thought as amateurish is becoming more and more revered with each festival.