Swarms of people gathered in Aghiou Georgiou Square last Saturday to view the grand opening show of the Patras Carnival 2006. The aim of the Municipality of Patras was not just to launch the annual festivities, but to highlight the timelessness of the event with a 45-minute ceremony that cost 150,000 euros. The Carnival, which runs to March 5, is especially resplendent this year as Patras is also celebrating its status as European Capital of Culture for 2006, bringing in many different cultural activities. The Orchestra of Patras is slated to give several performances, including concerts tomorrow and Friday in which the ensemble will play works by Bernard Herrmann, Philip Glass, Ennio Morricone, Nikos Kypourgos and Toru Takemitsu. The performances will also include the premiere of Stavros Landsias’s suite «Diary of Dreams.» On stage, the Patras Carnival Committee will present humorous tales of carnivals past and the Attis Theater group will present Costas Logaras’s «The Last Mask – Falimento» at various locations around the city. Tony Gatliff’s «Exils» is being screened tonight at the Pantheon Village Cinemas in what is one of the Patras Film Club’s contributions to the calendar of events. On a more festive note, there will be acrobats from China and France showing their stuff, as well as a cabaret, a concert with an orchestra playing instruments made from vegetables, another concert with the great Brazilian duo Airito Moreira and Flora Purim, and many more highlight events.