“We are excited because COVID-19 restrictions have loosened up, and we’re expecting about 1,000 people,” says Sarah Maurice, executive director of Les Cercle des Canadiens Français de Prince George (CCFPG), or the French-Canadian Association of Prince George.
For its 37th year and the CCFPG association’s 62nd year, the FrancoFUN eight-day festival starts March 4 and will run until March 12. That’s plenty of time and reason to celebrate for Prince George’s francophone community!
Many don’t realize the significant French-speaking population living within the community, not just people relocated from Québec, but from around the world.
Les Cercle des Canadiens Français de Prince George is a non-profit association dedicated to promoting French culture and language, with the FrancoFUN Winter Festival starting in 1982. By 2007, Heritage Canada officially recognized the festival, followed shortly after by the City of Prince George in 2009.
According to Sarah, this year’s schedule is not to be missed. It includes “two shows in the Prince George Playhouse, with about three hundred people attending per show,” including live theatre with volunteer actors whose play will tell the history of the “founders who first settled in Prince George, their struggles speaking only French, and creating their own community.”
FrancoFUN kicks off Friday, March 4, with an evening of skating.
On March 7, Sarah explains, “singer Léa Jarry from Quebec will perform, plus traditional dance from Burundi, Africa.”
If the latter seems like an odd fit, be reminded that the “French language is spoken all around the world, and we hope to highlight that the Francophone community welcomes everyone,” she says.
Art and entertainment will take place March 9 at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, with the popular annual senior's luncheon returning for folks aged 50+.
Outdoor activities, such as curling and snowshoeing, will replace movie night this year, explains Sarah, “people are tired of being inside, and want to get together and move instead of sitting.”
On March 12, the Sugar Shack is hosting their traditional French-Canadian brunch, with a musical performance by Pierre Schryer. Brunch to go is also available for anyone more comfortable with that.
At the end of the event, there will be a draw for two big prizes, one being a night at the Sandman Hotel with a certificate to the restaurant, and the other a night at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.
Expect maple taffy in the snow, “which I crave,” laughs Sarah, and traditional dishes made by volunteers like tourtière “with their secret family recipes passed down for years and years.”
To learn how to join in on the FrancoFUN, call 250-562-2565 or visit the Le Cercle des Canadiens Français de Prince George Facebook page, where daily events and information are listed in French and English.