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Winnipeggers flock to Festival du Voyageur for celebration of Louis Riel Day

Winnipeggers have flocked to Festival du Voyageur to celebrate Louis Riel Day.

According to executive director Breanne Lavallee-Heckert, it’s a great way to celebrate Louis Riel day.

“It’s such an important legacy for us to honour through Louis Riel, and through the story of the provisional government and the guaranteed rights for minority languages here in Manitoba. So that’s hugely embedded into everything we do, and the spirit of la francophonie is very much alive and well here in St. Boniface.” she said.

Volunteers were ready to share in the francophone spirit, whether it’s a longstanding family tradition or whether they’re newcomers to Winnipeg.

“I remember when the first festival opened, I was 16 or 17 years old. I’m 72 now, I haven’t missed a festival. My family plays music, I’m descended from violinists and musicians.” said Philippe “Bonaventure Parisien” Lessard, volunteer.

Lavallee-Heckert says turnout has been great this opening weekend, in part due to the warm weather.

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It means fewer snow sculptures than usual, but there are substitutes made from hay and tree branches. They were made in just a few weeks, when it became clear there wouldn’t another major snowfall before the festival opened.

“I think all of us are missing winter a little bit, but the different sculptures that we have … there’s some amazing work that’s been done by our artists, who really pivoted and took innovative approaches to dealing with the lack of snow this year,” she said.

She adds they’ve been popular, and they may show up again at future festivals. Those visiting for the first time aren’t having any trouble enjoying the atmosphere.

“I’m a first-timer at this festival, so it’s a big pleasure to see all these people, all these children playing, walking around, singing songs.” said Eugen Khorolskyi, Volunteer.

Musical acts, games and cultural activities run every day at the festival – until next Sunday.

— with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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