Métis Spring Festival returns to Servus Place in St. Albert: May 17 – 19

By Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

(ANNews) – The Métis Spring Festival is returning to Servus Place in St. Albert this year from May 17 to 19, with daily square dancing and competitions.

“It’s all about Métis music and Métis dance,” Florence Gaucher of Métis Child & Family Services, who’s organized the annual celebration of Métis culture since its inception 15 years ago, told Alberta Native News.

“It’s bringing a community together to come and either participate as a contestant or to be there as one of the supporters of the event.”

But, Gaucher emphasized, the event is not only for Métis people, anyone interested in immersing themselves in Métis culture is welcome to attend and enjoy the festival.

“It’s not only for the [Métis] community,” she added. “It’s also to create an awareness of our culture and share it with other people.”

In its original iteration in 2009, the event was hosted at the Kinsmen Korral, but it became immediately apparent that they needed a bigger venue, so Servus Place has been its home since 2010.

Festivities kick off on Friday May 17th with vocal talent shows beginning at 6:30 p.m., which you can register for up until an hour before showtime. There are separate categories for kids aged 7 to 12 and 13 to 19, adult males and females, and seniors.

Jigging and fiddling competitions occur on the Saturday and Sunday, both starting at 1 p.m., with registration open until noon. The categories are the same as the vocal competitions.

There will be concessions and crafts for sale on site, which Gaucher said will look familiar to people who’ve been to other Métis events in the region.

“I’ve tried to keep it as authentic as possible for people making their own products,” she explained.

Homemade goods for sale will include beads, baked goods, dolls, sculptures, fish scale art, candles, clothes, moccasins and mukluks.

Admission is free of charge and everyone is welcome.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Métis Child & Family Services Society, St. Albert Riverlot Métis Association, St. Albert-Sturgeon County Métis Nation Local #1904 and the Métis Nation of Alberta.

“It’s going to be a wonderful celebration of Métis culture,” concluded Gaucher. “See you there!”

For further information, email [email protected].

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