By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The annual St. Jean Baptiste Festival will increase in size and scope in Morinville’s centennial year. That was the word from St. Jean Baptiste Committee Vice Chair Paul Smith Tuesday night.
Smith made a presentation to Morinville Town Council to bring them up to speed on what the committee of 30 volunteers are lining up for the summer festival which will run from Tuesday until Sunday this year.
The local business owner and festival volunteer said all of the attractions from last year’s successful event would be returning but many would be expanded to accommodate the increased run of the festival. One item that will run the length of this year’s event is the midway.
“They were really happy with Morinville last year,” Smith said. “They were happy with how the kids were, they were happy with how the people were.”
But the popular midway is not the only aspect of the festival that will run through the week. Smith said a negotiations are under way to secure a number of bigger name acts to perform in the then newly opened Community Cultural Centre.
The committee has scheduled East Coast comedian Jimmy Flynn for the Wednesday night, country singer Joe Hicks for Thursday night, Doug and the Slugs for Friday night and Kenny Shields and Streetheart for Saturday evening. Additionally, Smith said the committee is in final negotiations with the Aboriginal gospel act Breaking Walls. The festival had been in negotiations with Canadian rock band Trooper\ however, the band has opted to perform at Boonstock.
But country, rock and comedy are not the only big events lined up for St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2011. Smith said the annual Tearin’ up the Turf bull riding event has agreed to move its date to coincide with the festival weekend.
Smith said bussing will be made available to transport festival visitors from Morinville to Cardiff for the event and that no major events are planned for in town while the bull riding takes place.
Other events planned for this year’s festival include an expanded show and shine car show, a food showcase called a Taste of Morinville and hamster races sponsored by Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies in Morinville.
Smith expressed the committee’s gratitude for the financial support the Town of Morinville has given the festival with contributions of seed money, fireworks and funding for a commemorative coin.
“For the town investment of $25,000, were hoping to bring a 100,000 festival,” Smith said.