FrancoFun winter festival coming up

The French influence on winter blows all across Canada like an Arctic gale. The franco-Canadian community has made a party out of snow and ice for hundreds of years and for the past 33 it has been official in Prince George.

The 34th Annual FrancoFun Winter Festival is set to launch, bridging two of the city's other cultural institutions in the winter. The FrancoFun events link from the Coldsnap Music Festival all the way to Downtown Winterfest, providing their own colours to each.

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Otherwise known as the Festival d'Hiver, this set of French concerts and parties is organized each year by the city's francophone headquarters Le Cercle des Canadiens Français de Prince George (CCF).

This year's first event is a trio of bands performing at Coldsnap on Feb. 1 at the Ramada Hotel. Go out that night to dance up a storm (Dansez Une Tempête) to the music of The French Connection, É.T.É., and LGS.

On Feb. 2 there is an art exhibition opening at the CCF building (1752 Fir St.) at 7 p.m.

A free evening of skating at the Outdoor Ice Oval happens Feb. 4 from 6-7:30 p.m. for those who email their RSVP to infolecercle@gmail.com. There's a maple treat for the first 50 participants.

On Feb. 5, the festival goes to the movies, with the showing of La Bolduc at 7 p.m. at the CCF building.

A meal for local seniors will be served on Feb. 7 in collaboration with the Prince George Chateau (4377 Hill Ave.) at noon.

One of the city's favourite winter parties, attended by speakers of all languages, is the Cabane à Sucre or the Sugar Shack day. Enjoy brunch, old time fiddlers, live French folk band Les Rats d'Swampe, and sumptuous maple syrup from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Mary's Hall on Feb. 9.

The string of activities closes on Feb. 10 when Le Cercle des Canadiens Français joins with Downtown Prince George in the seasonal hotspot event Downtown Winterfest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Cetreville, the core of the city's downtown.

The FrancoFun Festival is also the channel into a tempting contest. The grand prize - Grand prix du Festival - for the Festival d'Hiver is a $750 travel voucher for the Via Rail passenger train.

For more information about the festival or the French-culture club that organizes this suite of winter soirées, go to their website at www.ccfpg.ca or call them at 250-561-2565.

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