St. Jean Baptiste Festival rocks Morinville with variety

Stephen Dafoe Photos

Morinville – Although it took nearly a year to plan and almost a week to set up, St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2012 tore down and packed away for another year in approximately four hours Sunday afternoon. Festival Chair Paul Smith said tear down is always the hardest part to find help with, but such was not the case with this event – volunteers came through in strong numbers.

The tear down brought to a close this year’s festival, three days of varied events Smith and his committee feel met the varied demographics and tastes of Morinville. “Everyone was super happy with 99 per cent of the events,” he said. “People said they had fun with their family. That’s a huge component. Most people found they could just walk and just kind of find out where things were. They could just mosey around and see what was going on.”

The majority of activities took place in and around the arena. What people saw this past weekend were things for all ages: midway, parade, live entertainment, and activities for all ages and interests. Although many events returned from last year, Smith said results were bigger than previous years, numbers he takes as evidence the festival is growing and becoming an expected tradition. Smith said the midway wrist bracelets sold out Friday night, and that the Council Pancake Breakfast Saturday morning was the largest turnout yet. The chair went on to say the Bumper-to-Bumper Show and Shine had a few less cars than last year but far more people looking at them. Additionally, this year’s parade had in excess of 100 floats.

Below is a pictorial retrospective of the highlights of this past weekend’s events.


Elvis tribute artist Rick Johnsen performs on the community stage Friday night.

Serenity Arcand, 4, enjoys herself on one of the many Micheal’s Midway Rides. Friday night’s Rotary Rock ‘N’ Ride was a pre-event sellout this year.

The Caviar Players perform their original play A Health Unto Her Majesty during opening night. The play was performed three times over the weekend.

Canyon Rose Outfit front man Christan Maslyk is bathed in light during Friday night’s ‘80s Cabaret at the arena. A second event was held there Saturday evening.

Fireworks, always a highlight of the festival, were once again put on by the Morinville Fire Department.


Councillors Gordon Boddez and Ben Van De Walle were behind the hot seats cooking up pancakes and sausages Saturday morning for the Council breakfast held on main street in front of the Town office. – Lucie Roy Photo

Sgt Mark Mathias leads Saturday morning’s parade. This year’s parade was one of the largest in recent memory.

The Edmonton Shriners took to the streets of Morinville in style.

Historical Society President Sheila Houle and Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Maureen Kubinec unveil the first of several new vignettes in St Jean Baptiste Park Saturday morning. The first unveiled was that of Father Primeau, appropriate given the priests role in Frontier Days, the predecessor of St. Jean Baptiste Festival.

Carter Winder (left) and Tyler Ettel take part in one heat of the Lions Club Tractor Pull Saturday afternoon.

Lyne Gosselin of the Edmonton-based Firefly Theatre perform some aerial acrobatics inside the arena Saturday afternoon. The 45-minute performance was sponsored by Servus Credit Union.

A couple admire the inside of one of the vehicles at the Morinville Bumper-to-Bumper Show and Shine Saturday afternoon. The annual show of fine and classic automobiles was increased again this year.

A Morinville Community High School Student Training Program (STP) firefighter competes in Saturday afternoon’s Firefighter Combat Challenge, an annual competition between firefighters designed to bring a little bragging rights home to the winning department and to show citizens the skills and stamina needed to be a firefighter.

Mike Reno of Loverboy performs at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre Saturday night.


Dragsters driven by hamsters were a popular hit once again this year at the Noah’s Ark Pets and Supplies Hamster Races. The vent took place at the arena and drew a considerable crowd for the afternoon event.

Wrestler Kevin Sane gets the upper hand on Slammer during the Force Pro Wrestling Show, sponsored by The Morinville News.

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