South Peace News
The popular Carnaval de St-Isidore returns Feb. 17-18 for the 41st year.
Francophone culture comes alive with a variety of activities and colourful performers at the St.-Isidore Cultural Centre organized by the Society of the Cultural Community Centre.
A full schedule of activities is being planned after large gatherings were banned in February 2021 and 2022 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our carnaval celebrates our unique heritage and place in the cultural fabric of Alberta,” the website says.
Plenty of French-Canadian food will be on the menu, such as poutine snow taffy and St. Isidore’s famous caribou.
Organizers are planning snow sculpting, log sawing and beard-growing contests, and a treasure hunt for children and adults are among the major events.
Outdoor fun includes horse-drawn hay rides, a bonfire, a toboggan hill, a hay maze and face-painting.
Children’s entertainment and a workshop are also scheduled.
A full lineup of francophone musical entertainers will continue the long tradition.
Carnaval de St-Isidore was initiated by the Peace River ACFA in 1982 to establish the traditions of the francophone communities in the region, the event website explains.
The ACFA approached the St.-Isidore Cultural Committee about staging such an event.
After months of planning and organizing, the first Carnaval de St-Isidore was held in February 1983.
In the beginning, the carnaval incorporated traditions from the Quebec Winter Carnival, such as the mascot Bonhomme Carnaval.
Other elements of French Canadian culture were adopted, including maple snow taffy, a log sawing competition, la tourtiere de Lac St. Jean, horse-drawn sleigh rides and a bonfire.
Predominantly a community celebration, the carnaval serves to unite the people of St. Isidore with a primary purpose to socialize and have fun.
In 1988, the carnaval introduced dukes and duchesses from surrounding communities to allow the carnaval to grow from a predominantly community-based event to more regional and provincial.
From 1990-1993, the carnaval established an elaborate music program.
Throughout the province and beyond, the Carnaval de St-Isidore has become famous for its creativity, cultural vitality, and warm hospitality.
No longer solely a community celebration, the current carnaval is increasingly large and enjoyed by participants from all over the province.