By Morinville News Staff
Morinville – This year’s St. Jean Baptiste (SJB) Festival is looking to give attendees more bang for the buck, even though many of the events are free once again. Festival Chair Paul Smith said the Morinville Festival Society is looking to keep the festival as big as it has been in the past, but the plan is to spread the events more evenly over the three days allotted to this year’s summer festival.
“We’re having headlining events on all three days as opposed to packing them in on Saturday,” Smith said. “One of the things we found last year was that we had so many events jam packed into the Saturday that people felt rushed trying not to miss anything. We’re changing that up this year. We’re spreading them over the three days so people can experience them in a less rushed fashion.”
People got their first look at that festival line up over the weekend at the Leap Into Spring Expo, put on by the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce. Smith and his fellow Festival Society members had plenty of opportunity to hand out this year’s schedule of events.
The Servus Credit Union Aerial Circus, Headpins / Tupelo Honey concert and Rotary Rock and Ride will form the backbone of the Friday evening program. Saturday’s main events include professional Roller Derby sponsored by Morinville News, the Home Hardware Bumper-to-Bumper Show and Shine, the Firefighters’ Combat Challenge, and the Sweeny Todd / Whiskey Boyz concert at the cultural centre. The Force Pro Wrestling show sponsored by Morinville News and Noah’s Ark’s Annual Hamster Races will anchor Sunday’s activities.
Smith is anticipating record crowds again this year as residents and visitors come out to take in the full weekend’s activities. “We’re expecting more of the same over the entire weekend event,” Smith said. “It is an entire weekend event. It is something to really enjoy. Book the time off. Save the dates and enjoy the entire weekend.”
The Festival Chair said this year’s event has seen even greater community support than last year as the Morinville Festival Society has expanded to offer a festival for all seasons. Smith said the major sponsors have been the Town of Morinville with a $35,000 sponsorship plus in kind contributions, a $20,000 initial sponsorship from Champion Petfoods, and an $18,000 sponsorship from The Morinville News. Other top line sponsors include Servus Credit Union whom Smith said have been phenomenal in providing the festivals with a large number of volunteers to help run events.
This year’s St. Jean Baptiste Festival runs June 21 to 23.