Morinville Festival Society going back to its roots, Chair says

by Stephen Dafoe

Regrouping and making sure everything is as perfect for next year’s festival as possible is the plan Korien Sampson, the Morinville Festival Society’s (MFS) new president, is laying on the table for her 13-member board. Sampson took over as president and chair after the conclusion of this year’s St. Jean Baptiste Festival, taking the reins from longtime MFS Chair Paul Smith.

“I think at this particular time, the directional change is what was needed for the Society itself,” Sampson said of the transition, adding she and former Chair Paul Smith have two different styles of directing, and that she is mindful of that with the changeover.

Although running the organization may see some shifts at the board table, that board table is a little longer these days. Sampson said the Society currently has 13 members, the largest compliment it has had to date. “I think that is a positive spin for the society as a whole,” she said. “It allows us to get more things done. We can have someone in charge to make sure our advertising is out six to eight weeks before the event, and we can have someone who can be in charge of the different various things that we do to ensure that things go smoothly. It helps everybody come together in a more cohesive unit.”

Although the Festival Society bills itself as providing “a festival for all seasons,” Sampson said it is too soon to tell if they will return to actually doing four festivals per year, particularly taking an active role in the annual Family Day weekend activities.

“It’s not off the table as we have not discussed it at this point,” Sampson said, adding the Society’s only post-SJB meeting was a debriefing of their flagship summer event. “We are working heavilly towards the Country Fair, and then we have the Food and Jam Festival. Sometime by September we will start talking about what — if anything — we will be doing for Family Day.”

Country Fair next big event

For now, Sampson and the MFS crew have their eyes set on Morinville’s Country Fair, taking place at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre Aug. 22. The day-long event will start with a pancake brakfast in the street hosted by the Morinville Lions Club. The main event will take place in the arena parking lot and include a variety of country-themed activities, including a farmers’ market, mechanical bull, and a traditional bench fair where people can bring their biggest and best produce and other items for judging. Sampson said the fair will have lots of country children’s game sand activities that will run from 10 a.m. until noon.

The big send off for the day will be the Farm-to-Table Dinner, an event the Morinville Community Gardens ran last year to considerable success. This year the MFS has taken the project on, offering residents an opportunity to eat fesh, local ingredients at one long communal table. The dinner will start at 5:30 p.m. and be followed by a street dance and possibly a family movie inside the arena. Ticket details can be found on the Morinville Festival Society’s website at MorinvilleFestivals.com.

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