Smoky River region showcases the arts

Theresa Lambert, left, Carmen Ewing, centre, and Diane Therriault welcomed people to the booth they hosted for Société Historique et Généalogique de Smoky River.

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Art enthusiasts were excited to welcome the Smoky River Cultural Days: A Celebration of Arts, Culture, and Community to Falher on the weekend of Sept. 8-10.

The event was held at the Centre Chevaliers and Falher Municipal Campground in Falher, with a variety of events, workshops, and artistry that attracted people from throughout the region.

“We were very happy with the turnout, especially on Saturday, when there was a constant flow of people throughout the day,” says Nord-Ouest FM executive director and one of the organizers of the event, Gisele Bouchard.

“Our partners also made sure we had attendance for the workshops and public reading, which really did help with the turnout,” she adds. “People were very enthusiastic about the event since events exclusively dedicated to the promotes of the arts are not as frequent in our area.”

Bouchard says they would have liked to have seen more people attend the Friday and Saturday evening music and dance events, but there was poor turnout for both the launch of the 2023-24 season of Les Artistes de chez-nous and Smoky River Transportation fundraiser.

“The Saturday activities were the most attended,” she says. “The musical acts as well as the workshops and readings were a big draw for people in the area. People absolutely enjoyed Pierrette Requier’s bilingual reading from her book of vignettes Petites Nouvelles du last best west. Sasha Laboucan’s dances were very much appreciated and Renelle Ray and Mano Mano were probably the musical artists people most often mentioned.”

Bouchard estimates there were approximately 400 people who attended activities through the weekend and organizers will discuss the opportunity of holding the event again next year.

“These types of events are grant dependent and we’ll also have to look at getting a few more sponsors for the event,” says Bouchard. “We’ll also look at different formats as there are options to keep everything the same weekend or to spread the activities throughout the month of September. It is a very costly event to hold as we’d love to keep most events and activities.”

Bouchard says sponsors interested in becoming involved with cultural days can call the radio station at (780) 837-2346.

“I received a few phone calls and messages thanking us for putting on the event,” says Bouchard.

“There were a lot of smiles all around throughout the weekend and the musicians, artists and artisans were also very positive about the event.”

Bouchard adds organizers are considering pushing the event later in September and also adding more venues to host activities.

Bouchard says the weekend was a great showcase for the region’s artists, artisans and musicians.

“It’s also a great way to bring community together,” says Bouchard of the event.

“I believe it’s crucial in small communities like ours to show the creativity of its residents and to showcase that talent in events like this one. I think it demonstrates how it can be inspiring for youth, especially in areas where we don’t come across writers and the arts in general on a daily basis.”

Surrounded by smiles everywhere! Neth Samia Lavoie stands in front of some of her artistry that she had on display at the Cultural Days in Falher on Sept. 9.
Ziany Rahim stands behind some of her colourful paintings that she had on display at this year’s Cultural Days in Falher.
Shady Orchard & Winery owner Kristie Gordon shows some of her products at Cultural Days. Shady Orchard is located just east of High Prairie.
Charli Emsley enjoyed the Saturday events. Here, she was busy at the children’s centre.
Marjie Hyland, left, Carmen Pelletier, centre, and Rocky Walker wowed the crowd with their beautiful music. They are well-known throughout the region for their talent.
Left-right are Joel Lavoie, Rohan Sylvain and Jean-Pierre Lavoie, who played their music at the Cultural Days kickoff party Friday night.
Veronica Jacob was at Cultural Days with her beautiful paintings.
Kelsie Rose came all the way from Fairview to display her jewelry for sale at the market on Saturday.
Sasha Laboucan danced traditional dances for the crowd and even taught a traditional circle dance.
Jenna Loewen showed off her musical abilities at Cultural Days Sept. 8-10.

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