It’s Monday. The tents are down, the rides are gone and all that remains of St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2011 is the memory of the nearly week-long event and a nagging question on many of our minds. How in the hell do you top that? And if this year’s festival can be topped, there truly is no limit to what Morinville can do.
We’ve had some challenges in this our centennial year. A new council finding its place after the fall election, a misunderstood bylaw that created a media circus (no pun intended), controversy over photo radar, the placement of our new cultural centre, and the controversy over our children’s education, an issue that drove a seemingly immovable wedge between members of our community.
But for six days last week, all of that was forgotten as Morinville opened the doors to a new and modern Morinville, a community mindful of its past, mindful of the small town flavour it’s trying to preserve while it seems to bust at the seams on its growth path to city status, and a community confident it can raise its leg as high as the big dogs to mark its territory on the festival map.
From Aboriginal group Broken Walls on Aboriginal Day to Kenny Shields and Street Heart Saturday night, the Festival Committee combined with private investors took the risk and the initiative to give this community five concerts in five days, bringing in top-name talent, while providing a venue for local talent to open those shows.
Saturday saw the festival kick into high gear with an expanded parade of nearly 100 floats, showing the buy-in from our businesses and community groups. That connectivity with our roots was further exemplified in the variety of activities and sponsorships of those activities throughout the weekend.
When you have so many events lined up for Saturday that you have to either get people to clone themselves or extend the festival well into Sunday, you have a festival and a community of volunteers that is to be applauded.
And with Canada Day restored to Morinville and a crew of people looking to make that event bigger and better in subsequent years, we may all soon have to book our two weeks’ vacation just to be able take it all in.
Please note: Photo galleries for the concerts and parade are found on other recent articles. To navigate this photo gallery, click on the thumbnail image, then use mouse wheel or arrow key to navigate the gallery.