Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Festival Du Voyageur - Winter Festival Fun

What do the fine people of the prairies do when winter seems to last forever?  We have a festival of course! Festival du Voyageur is is full swing!!  This 10 day long festival happens every February and highlights the Metis and French way of life during the days of fur trapping, the Northwest Company.  The French quarter, St. Boniface lights up with life during Festival.  You know Festival is gearing up when you see the giant blocks of snow being prepared for the snow sculptures.  Snow sculptures go up in key areas around the city to remind us Festival is close.  It is always interesting to see what the sculptors will come up with.

The nerd in me completely loves going on a tour of Fort Gibraltar.  The Fort is a replica of a fur trading post circa 1810 with all of the buildings inside manned by people in period costumes and working.  The black smith is plying his trade, the store has products on display, there are people 'relaxing' in the workers quarters.  All you have to do is ask questions and the 'players' are more that eager to explain things to you.

The man on the right is 'in charge' of the Fort and the man on his right is his body guard.

I know what you are thinking, an outdoor festival in winter?  Crazy!  You really do have to dress for the weather.  Long undies are essential, as is proper layering of clothes.  There are plenty of opportunities to warm up along the way.  There are fire pits set up all over the place to stop, listen to some tales and warm your tootsies.  Tents are also warm places stop and warm up.
The snow bar is always need to chill your beer!

The Boy and Hubby check out some furs inside the general store

A mill stone to make flour

This is a brick of tea!!  They would grate it on the metal micro plane type of thing and then steep their tea!

The tents house entertainment such as live bands, the souvenir tent, the food tent (woo hoo), and of course the beer tent.  Along with all the fun at Voyageur park, there are several venues around town  that house live bands and other fun events such as fiddling contests and the voyageur games.  These venues are called trading posts and do add to the fun.
The port-a-pottie for the very brave!

It has been a few years since we braved the Festival.  It is so difficult to get everything in that you really do have to plan ahead and pick and choose what you would like to do.  We went on Monday, which happened to be Louis Riel day, which is a long weekend Monday so it was ridiculously busy and we didn't even get near a couple of things we wanted, such as the 'Sugar Shack', which is the food tent....Luckily, we bought the Festival pass so we can go back anytime and check things out.  It really is best to go a couple of times during the week.

Our local paper has some survival guide tips here.

You can check out the official Festival du Voyageur website here.

I am almost too busy to cook during Festival!  I will try to keep up though!  We are going back to see some of the things we missed on Monday.

Until next time, stay warm and eat well!!

 I couldn't resist adding some more photos....

Here I am waving to the boys who are walking on the Fort wall. I end up wandering to the fire pit to warm up a bit!

The walk back to the car seemed so long!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! Lovley story and beautiful photos! Have a great weekend :)


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