After celebrating Manitoba’s francophone history, culture and tradition for the last 45 years, it’s not surprising that Festival du Voyageur is woven in time.
Woven in Time is the theme of this year’s event, which will run from Feb. 14 to 23. According to the lineup announced recently at Fort Gibraltar, Festival’s 2014 edition promises to be bigger and better than ever.
"It’s stronger than ever," Festival’s executive director Ginette Lavack Walters told The Lance at the Jan. 14 event.
"It’s such a unique celebration and people want to discover something new. And it’s a great time of year to do this, as there’s not too much else going on."
Music will again take centre stage and this year 130 artists will be showcased at Voyageur Park, Festival’s hub, as well as 11 official sites during the 10-day celebration.
The melting pot of scheduled talent includes Franco-Manitoban acts such as Marijosée, DUGAS and Daniel ROA, as well as out-of-province performers, including Vincent Vallières, Antoine Gratton, Yves Lambert Trio and Alaclair Ensemble. Sierra Noble, Asham Stompers featuring Sagkeeng’s Finest, Royal Canoe and Bros. Landreth will also feature among the numerous acts that round out the roster.
To celebrate Louis Riel Day on Feb. 17, there will be various activities at Fort Gibraltar, such as traditional trades and crafts demonstrations and fiddling and jigging workshops.
Festival’s young visitors will also be able to enjoy a brand new winter playground, while adults of a recreational persuasion can take in a free snowshoe workshop or unwind at the Liqour Mart Snow Bar, which will broadcast Radio-Canada’s coverage of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Add to the mix the 2014 International Snow Sculpting Symposium, presented by Air Canada, the popular Souvenir Tent and the annual Beard Growing Contest and the only drawback of Festival could be how to squeeze everything into your schedule.
Lavack Walters noted there will be two new official sites this year: Chez Sophie sur le pont and the Rendez-vous on Ice, located at The Forks. The latter event will be open to the public between Feb. 14 and 17 and will feature an outdoor bar, a fashion show on ice and a family day.
And transportation to and from the park will be enhanced this year. In collaboration with Beaver Bus Lines, there will be a free shuttle service, running every 30 minutes, from The Forks to the University of St. Boniface and on to Voyageur Park. There will also be two new parking lots, located at École Taché (744 Langevin St.) and Caisse Financial Group (205 Provencher Blvd.).
To enhance your visitor experience, a Festival app is now available for download for iOS and Android devices.
"We want to invite all Manitobans to come and enjoy the celebration," Lavack Walters said. "It’s a party not to miss and a great opportunity to make new friends."
For more information, visit www.heho.ca or follow Festival du Voyageur on Facebook or Twitter.