By Stephen Dafoe
Capital Ex and the Edmonton Indy both started this past weekend, doubtlessly drawing countless hundreds from the communities of Sturgeon County towards the roar of the crowds and the roar of the engines. But countless hundreds of other spectators (some from Edmonton even) were drawn north on Highway 2 to Legal for Fête au Village.
Oh sure, Legal didn’t have any rides for kids that could turn them upside down, but those inflatable jumping things were never empty and the noise coming from them was evidence that a good time was being had by all.
Granted, Fête au Village didn’t have Will Power in pole position like Indy did, but it did have 25 entrants to the demolition derby, each with the will power to be the last car driving. And while the engines of some old about-to-be-smashed-into-scrap vintage vehicles may not have been as loud as those of the Indy cars, the enthusiastic roar of the crowd certainly was.
And maybe Legal didn’t bring in George Canyon and Shane Yellowbird to play for the festival goers, but couples seemed to be dancing just fine to the music of Sidekick, who played well into Sunday morning.
There’s something magical about Fête au Village and the many other summer festivals held throughout Sturgeon County that can only truly be understood by those who have experienced them, all the more so by those who have experienced them year after year.
Repeated events do not become stale; they become traditions that are looked forward to from the time the last tent pole and speaker is torn down until the next ones are put up.
Yes, it’s great to head off to the city for a high profile event. It is unlikely Aerosmith or Justin Bieber are planning to play Fête au Village, St. Jean Baptiste or Harvest Days any time soon, but what our local festivals may lack in big name drawing power, they more than make up for in that sense of belonging, that feeling of being rooted in traditions and community that one gates the moment one walks through the gates of Citadel Park.
And yes, you might be able to walk away from Capital Ex with a giant stuffed aardvark, but where else but Fête au Village can you get three chances to dunk the mayor in cold water for just a buck?
Video highlights from Fête au Village
Click thumbnail to launch viewer, then use scroll wheel or arrows to navigate through photos.