Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2014 (3053 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A new, free shuttle, the addition of a second Snow Bar and two new official sites -- Chez Sophie sur le pont and the Rendez-vous on Ice at The Forks skating trail -- will have you shouting "he-ho" at the 2014 Festival du Voyageur.
This year's Festival runs from Feb. 14 to 23.
The Festival du Voyageur, the largest winter festival in Western Canada, announced its slogan as "Woven in Time" for the 45th edition and revealed programming on Tuesday at Fort Gibraltar in Voyageur Park.
There will be 130 artists performing at 11 sites during the 10 days of the event.
Some Franco-Manitoban artists to watch include Marijosée, Dugas and Daniel Roa along with anglophone acts such as Sierra Noble, the Asham Stompers featuring Sagkeeng's Finest, Royal Canoe and Bros. Landreth.
"We feel truly fortunate that what began so many years ago as a Franco-Manitoban community celebration has been embraced by people throughout the city and province," said Daniel Leclair, Festival vice-president. "Year after year, we are able to share our joie de vivre and the spirit of the voyageurs. With countless visitors from near and far, what a privilege that is."
For the first time, a free shuttle will run from The Forks (the northwest corner of Waterfront Drive and Mahatma Gandhi Way) to Université de Saint-Boniface (Despins Street entrance) to Voyageur Park. It will stop every 30 minutes at these stops.
"The shuttle is a huge thing that will go a long way to helping people get to and from the venue," said Leclair, in his sixth year with the Festival. "The second Snow Bar, that's going to get a lot of people excited. There was so much demand for that Snow Bar, especially with the Olympics being on and being able to show it (on a snow screen) at a second venue."
The Rendez-vous on Ice at The Forks skating trail will be open to the public from Feb. 14 to 17 and it will offer an outdoor bar and a fashion show on ice.
Families looking for a fun way to spend the day on Louis Riel Day (Monday, Feb. 17) will find Fort Gibraltar packed with events such as traditional trades and craft demonstrations and fiddling and jigging workshops. Festival organizers are asking everyone to come to the park dressed in blue or white that day as they attempt to create the largest "living" Métis flag.
The largest tent at the event, the MTS Red River Tent, has doubled in size to hold about 700 people.
Also new, the official Festival family will be unveiled this year during the event with a kitchen party on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. at the Voyageur Trading Post at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain.
There are 45 entrants in the annual beard-growing contest and 10 teams of snow sculpters with participants from 10 different countries including Sweden and Italy will participate in the 2014 International Snow Sculpting Symposium.
"The beard-growing contest, always a good time, and it amazes me every single year, the people that come out of the woodwork for this, it's just fascinating. It's pretty wild, definitely a must-see," Leclair said.
The pre-sale for the 10-day Voyageur Pass at discounted prices will end Friday. Passes are available from the Festival office at 233 Provencher Blvd., Safeway stores in Winnipeg and online at www.heho.ca.
Volunteers are still needed for the event and can register at www.heho.ca.
"Volunteering is a great way to experience the French-Canadian culture first-hand," said Johanne No´l, who, along with her husband, Guy, has volunteered for 35 years.