The 34th annual Carnaval de St-Isidore, a two-day occasion that since its inception in 1982 has established itself as a seminal winter event in northern Alberta.
While certainly a favorite winter rendezvous for Alberta’s Francophones, the Carnaval also attracts Albertans and people across Canada of all cultural backgrounds, because when it comes to food, music and the arts everyone is something of a Francophile.
The Carnaval, held on February 12 and 13, was thoughtfully organized to be of interest to the entire family but also something fun and interesting for adults, with a wide variety of French Canadian dishes, elaborate ice sculptures, and numerous musical and variety acts that performed late into the evening.
There was also, such typical carnival activities such as high striker, a game where a person, in this instance mostly young teenagers, test their strength with the swing of a sledgehammer in an effort to ring a bell at the top of the machine, hay bale labyrinth,plus sleigh rides and indoor activities for very small children.
The sleigh rides had an authentic, rustic touch, stopping in the woods at a huge bonfire where everyone got off to warm up before heading back on the return trip.
While there was a big demand for the sleigh rides, with at least three horse drawn sleighs in service, no one had to wait too long.
The Carnaval always highlights French Canadian artists from across Canada and this year was no exception: Reveillons a high-energy quartet that hails from Quebec, and musician, actor, writer and all around entertainer Roger Dallaire.
Local talent included Musician Joel Lavoie and Plein Soleil, a dance troupe that perform folk dance with a St. Isidore inflection.
Among other performers were renowned Albertan violinist Daniel Gervais, musical duo, Dans L’Shed, and circus performers, Circus of Hell Performance Troupe and Lyne Gosselin.
Although the festivities wound down on Saturday evening, the Carnaval Mass was celebrated Sunday at 11 am, followed by brunch at the local Cultural Centre.