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Francophone culture on display at Cabane à Sucre

A free community event will once again welcome people of all backgrounds to celebrate local francophone culture.
Cabane à Sucre in Bonnyville is scheduled to take place on March 16. / File photo

BONNYVILLE - A free community event will once again welcome people of all backgrounds to celebrate francophone culture.

On March 16, ACFA Régionale de Bonnyville-Cold Lake will host Cabane à Sucre, offering the traditional sugary treat on snow as a main highlight of the day, along with a list of other fun activities in Bonnyville.

Christine St. Laurent, regional manager for ACFA Bonnyville-Cold Lake, says the event has been taking place for about 50 years.

“It’s an event that is meant to gather like minded people to celebrate the francophone tradition,” she says. The purpose of the day is to gather with friends and family, listen to music, and eat traditional French-Canadian foods, such as tourtiere, maple baked beans, maple upside-down cake, and much more.

Entertainment and activities

This year, a concert will also take place, starting at about 1:30 p.m. Musical duo Bub & Pit have been touring the province, putting on shows in communities across the Lakeland. The timing of the show in Bonnyville will coincide with Cabane à Sucre and offers people a reason to head indoors and warm up. 

For those who want to get as much fresh air as possible, they can still enjoy the concert since the music will be playing outdoors on speakers.

Isabelle la Wonderful will also be on hand during the afternoon to entertain children, according to St. Laurent. Outdoor activities such as sawing logs, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and much more will also take place.

Thanks to a collaboration with Lakeland Credit Union, parking lots on main street will be used to allow for a large, open outdoor space that is also located near the ACFA Hall where the indoor events will be taking place.

St. Laurent says hosting the event in town will allow for it to be more accessible to residents who want to come and go. 

Plenty of food and music

While the event is free to attend, there is a cost to purchase food and drinks. Tickets for food will be $2 each and can be used to purchased a variety of items, says St. Laurent.

The day will begin at 11:30 a.m., and people are invited to come out and enjoy lunch and get the celebrations started early.

A 1 p.m., an indoor ceremony will be held in honour of March being Alberta Francophonie month, and there will be some talk about the Franco-Albertain flag, although an official flag raising ceremony will not be held.

At 1:30 p.m., the concert will begin indoors, and other activities will also be taking place at the same time. Food will be served throughout the afternoon - or until it runs out.

Open to all

St. Laurent says the event is great for people of all ages, from children who want to enjoy the outdoors, to seniors who may want to stay warm inside, listen to music, and enjoy having "a nice warm spot to sit."

There will also be a couple of vendors in the hall, and maple syrup will also be for sale.

While the event is centred around French culture - and Bonnyville and the surrounding area has a large francophone population - Cabane à Sucre is open to the community at large to attend.

“There's really something for everybody," says St. Laurent, adding, the event is open to "the franco-curious" who want to learn more about French-Canadian culture.

While there is always the possibility the weather could affect some of the outdoor events, so far the forecast is predicting warm temperatures and organizers are looking forward to a fun-filled day. 

Janice Huser

About the Author: Janice Huser

Janice Huser has been with the St. Paul Journal since 2006. She is a graduate of the SAIT print media journalism program, is originally from St. Paul and has a passion for photography.
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