By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Our Community, Our Heritage, Our Pride is the slogan of three days of festivities this weekend. The 2013 St. Jean Baptiste Festival will run June 21 to 23 at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre and other venues in town.
Festival Chair Paul Smith said his committee of volunteers are excited to unveil the largest festival yet. “St. Jean Baptiste has the history of Frontier Days mixed with the new community spirit where we mix business, town employees and volunteers to make something bigger than anyone of us could do separately,” Smith said, adding the end result is a festival he believes people will be excited about.”
Community involvement makes community festival
Roughly 100 volunteers, businesses, community groups and Town employees will come together with an estimated 5,000 residents and visitors for this year’s festival, a three-day celebration of the community, heritage and pride that has been the tagline to the festival since it was restarted four years ago by Joel Chevalier and Ron Cust.
“It’s almost a family tree of volunteers,” said Festival Chair Paul Smith. “There’s our committee of 13 and roughly another 100 volunteers underneath that, including the service clubs and organizations that support us. It really is driven by the volunteers and the passion that each committee member has for their event, the one that each take under their wing.”
But it takes more than a great army of volunteers to make a three-day festival run from sunup to sunset. Smith said this weekend’s festival has more than 30 events and activities, none of which would be possible without the support of the Town of Morinville and the many corporate and business sponsors. “The Town has done their part and they have really worked well with us because they’ve had to design how to make the protocols to do what we need to do,” Smith explained. “Then the businesses came on board and said they really liked what we were trying to do. They sponsored events reflective of their businesses. The support for that has actually really grown. I think the business community in Morinville really understands the importance of building community spirit.”
That support has included business taking on specific events, as is the case with the Annual Noah’s Ark Hamster Race and Home Hardware / Bumper-to-Bumper Show and Shine, or financial sponsorships to fund events, as is the case with Landrex Developers’ sponsorship of mini golf, Putnam and Lawson’s sponsoring of children’s crafts and games, and Brent Melville of Re/Max sponsoring the pony rides this year. Community groups, including the Morinville Lions Club and Morinville Rotary have come on board to assist as volunteers or to sponsor events as well.
Smith, his committee, and sponsors are hoping people will come out in record numbers again this year to celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Festival 2013.
“This is a jam-packed three days,” Smith said, adding major events have been well placed so as to allow everyone to see pretty much everything. “This is not a Saturday festival anymore. This is an all weekend, go hard event.”
See the four-page pull out with a full event listing by clicking the image to the right. Check your mailbox Monday for the 24-page SJB Festival Guide produced for the festival by The Morinville News and Et Cetera Communications.