Thursday, February 24, 2011

Good enough for the mustache competition

Competitions are an important feature of the Festival du Voyageur. On December 9th, those competing in the Beard and Mustache competition – categories “Wild and Woolly” and “Groomed mustache and beard” - were publically shaved at the Le Garage Cafe in St. Boniface in preparation for the event. Titles are to be awarded on February 25th. Other competitions include a Jigging contest on the 26th February, a Pea soup test and taste on the 27th, and a Fiddling contest featuring Alex Lamoureux on the 27th February.

Not to be missed are the Kitchen Parties where the dancing is wild and the fiddling spectacular. If I go by the energetic and expert fiddle playing that I heard at a number of different Kitchen Parties, I would say that Manitoba has some of the finest fiddlers in the land.

Dave Bart, a fabulous fiddler
Grandmas and Grandpas, Mums holding babies as they danced, the young and the tinies were all out on the floor. Visiting Pageant Queens from winter festivals in Minnesota, Michigan and Dakota, all resplendent with diamante crowns, joined the crowds in a riotous display of French high spirits as they danced the night away.

At Kitchen Parties in the park, dinner served at long tables in heated tents with sawdust floor, comprised thick pea soup, tortiere and sugar pie, a traditional dessert of such sweetness that it had to be eaten slowly at two sittings.

The formal Governor's Ball at the Fairmont Winnipeg was attended by the grand and the good in old-time finery; the walls of the ballroom appropriately decorated with bundles of furs; Arctic fox, beaver and coyote.

Fur trader in Fort Gibralter
Festival du Voyageur
Fort Gibraltar in Voyageur Park was abuzz with visitors exploring the lives of the voyageurs. It was in the fort that the fur traders gathered to buy and sell the furs acquired from Aboriginal trappers in the north. It was a home-away-from-home, where they socialized with people of their own persuasion.

Photos copyright Anne Gordon

Posted by Anne Gordon on Thursday, 24th February


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