Annual summer festival introducing some significant changes this year
by Stephen Dafoe
It’s another weekend of something for everyone June 24 to 26 as the seventh annual St. Jean Baptiste Festival kicks off summer in Morinville.
Organizers of this year’s volunteer-run community festival are pretty confident this will be the best one yet, despite a variety of changes.
Morinville Festival Society (MFS) Chair Korien Sampson said one of the significant changes in this year’s festival was replacing the midway with a variety of other activities for youth.
“We heard from a lot of youth in town that they were kind of bored of the midway and wanted something different,” Sampson said, noting a scheduling conflict with the midway allowed MFS to offer that something different people had been asking for. “We went with a bouncy rides event instead. We polled the youth in town to ask what they’d like to see. They were asking for the hamster balls. They were asking for a big bungee jump. Everything high on their list, we pretty much got them.”
As was the case with the midway in the past, wristband sales for the replacement attractions will be $20, which gets participants in the gate and access to the rides all night long on Friday. The wristband also provides access to the Kids’ Pavilion.
Saturday will feature many of the familiar festival staples, including the Pancake Breakfast, Home Hardware / Bumper to Bumper Show and Shine, SJB Parade, Firefighters’ Combat Challenge, Masons Landscaping Beach Volleyball, and Logger Sports events.
Those activities taking place at the Ray McDonald Sports Center festival grounds will require a $5 admission for the first time in the festival’s history. Admission provides access to the grounds for the entire weekend and children under five receive free admission.
Sampson said the MFS found it necessary to implement admission charges due to a drop in sponsorships this year.
Logger Spots, introduced to last year’s festival, will be a major component in this year’s event, expanding to two days of activities on Saturday and Sunday.
Sampson said that attendees will be able to participate in a Loggers-Wannabee, an event that will let the entire family try their hand at logger skills, for $2 per event.
The Festival Chair said pole climbing is one of the major events the seasoned loggers will offer as a spectator event.
Entertainment will be present again this year with live entertainment on the festival grounds throughout the weekend, and a DJ Dance with a $10 cover charge at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Friday night, and a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the cultural centre Saturday night. Tickets for the Slixer Entertainment event are $50 per person or $350 fo a table of eight.
Wristbands and tickets for the dinner theatre will be available at the cultural centre box office during regular business hours.