You’d better bring your appetite for adventure, culture and history; because Festival du Voyageur 2013 is set to serve up a fabulous francophone feast.
The programming for the 44th edition of Festival — which will run from Feb. 15 to 24 — was recently released. And with this year’s official slogan of Find Your Place in History, organizers are hoping visitors will learn more about the fur trade era by looking at history in a modern, practical context.
"I’m excited about this year’s festival. It’s going to be wonderful," said Festival executive director Ginette Lavack Walters at the recent launch event at Fort Gibraltar.
"Every year, we’re pushing the envelope. This is more than a music festival, as there are lots of workshops. People love learning a new skill and lots of people are looking for a hands-on experience. There is something for every age group," she said.
Community members have already registered for a series of apprentice voyageur workshops designed to keep traditions alive, where individuals can to dance like a voyageur, weave a leg sash, make a capot or create a snow sculpture.
Music will again take centre stage and this year 115 artists will be showcased at Voyageur Park, as well as at 10 official sites during the 10-day celebration, and the melting pot of scheduled acts includes L’ensemble Pierre Freynet, Daniel ROA, Lisa Leblanc, Samian, Don Amero, Imaginary Cities and The Lytics, to name a few.
Voyageur Park will be a focal point throughout Festival and a large winter playground will be open for children, including a snow maze, slides and sleigh rides, while adults can take part in snowshoe workshops, learn more about the history of Fort Gibraltar or refuel at the Molson Coors Snow Bar.
"A lot of the kids just enjoying playing in the big wall of snow in the park, while their parents enjoy the patio," Lavack Walters said.
Also on the slate is a snow sculpting symposium, the annual beard growing contest and full day of special programming on Feb. 18 to celebrate Louis Riel Day, including a look-a-like contest in the Maison du Bourgeois.
This year also marks the release of Festival’s new, free iPhone application, which is intended to enhance the visitor experience and enables users to create their own personalized schedules. The app is now available to download.
Alternatively, for more information, visit www.heho.ca or follow Festival du Voyageur on Facebook or Twitter.