Plenty of entertainment at Festival du Bois
For this year's Festival du Bois, the weekend-long Coquitlam party that celebrates all things French-Canadian will kick off in a city not known for its francophone heritage.
The 24th annual fête will be launched on Friday in Port Coquitlam to tie into its Sunday Coffee Concerts series as well as mark the municipality's 100th anniversary.
Genticorum, a Quebec traditional group that plays folk and Celtic music, will perform at the Terry Fox Theatre at 7 p.m.; it will also headline the festival on Saturday night.
The partnership "is Coquitlam's way of saying 'Happy Birthday' to Port Coquitlam," said Johanne Dumas, executive and artistic director of Société francophone de Maillardville, which is hosting the festival. "Port Coquitlam requested us to be part of their centennial celebrations and we are very pleased to be part of them."
Sponsored in part by The Tri-City News, the March 2 and 3 festival at Mackin Park in Maillardville promises a bounty of entertainment for all ages. The Main Stage (Grand Chapiteau), Workshop Tent (Tente des Ateliers) and Children's Tent (Tente des Enfants) will be filled with sounds and dance during most of the two days.
The Tri-Cities is represented with Alouest — a Maillardville-based band that has a French-Canadian west coast flair using a a dozen instruments — and Harmonie de l'Ecole des Pionniers-de-Maillardville, a concert band from the PoCo secondary school.
Quebecois groups to perform include the two-family band Dentdelion; Les Poules a Colin, made up of four female musicians and a guy named Colin; and Le Bal a l'Huile, a vocal group that sings both a cappella and accompanied by acoustic instruments.
And on the international front, Vashaan will play Persian songs while New York-based Matuto will whip up the crowd with its Brazilian Carnaval/bluegrass mix.
But music isn't the only attraction for Festival du Bois attendees as French-Canadian fare will also be served up with tourtiere, sugar taffy on snow, maple sugar pie and poutine on the menu. On Sunday, there will be a pancake breakfast for a cost.
"We are very proud to offer so many activities this year and especially for children," Dumas said. "We want kids to discover our French-Canadian traditions."
Meanwhile, nearby at Musée Mackin House Museum, there will also be entertainment during the festival, with workshops by Roger Dallaire — a musician, storyteller, ventriloquist, dancer and puppeteer — and by Denis Leclerc, who will set songs about the fur trade, and French-Canadian and Metis folk tales to his fiddle.
As well, next door at Place des Arts, Joanne Plourde will be highlighting her textile art talent during the festival from 1 to 4 p.m. and her ongoing installation, titled The Voyageurs Epic: Perseverance. Her exhibit, which opens Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Maillardville facility, runs until March 16.
The New Westminster resident said she got intrigued with the West Coast voyageurs after visiting the Fort Langley National Historic Site. "Their heritage isn't celebrated as much as it should be," said Plourde, who hails from the Gaspé Peninsula and will be leading a workshop, called Wearable Art: Textile Embellishment, in March. To register for her course, call 604-664-1636.
• Festival du Bois runs March 2 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and March 3 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with a mass at 9 a.m.) at Mackin Park, 1046 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam. Parking is available at Ikea, which has a shuttle bus to the park. Tickets are $12/$8/$5. Children under age five are free. Call 1-800-838-3006 or visit www.festivaldubois.ca. For the Port Coquitlam show with Genticorum on March 1, tickets at $12/$10/$6 are available by calling 604-927-8400 or go to www.experienceit.ca.