6th Annual French Heritage Days Celebration in VergennesBy Sue Hoxie
Free, family-friendly event recognizes region’s French-Canadian heritage
Vergennes, Vermont – July 1, 2011 – The Addison County Chamber of Commerce, with the support of individual and business sponsors, is hosting French Heritage Days on Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16, 2011 in Vergennes. The event celebrates the area’s French-Canadian heritage, but can be enjoyed by all, regardless of family descent. Full details of the event and a schedule of activities are available at www.frenchheritageday.com.
The event kicks off on Friday, July 15 from 6 to 9 pm with a Veillée (pronounced “vay yea”), a traditional French Canadian supper (served from 6 to 7 pm), held at the Vergennes Opera House. Local Franco-American musicians, Va-et-Vient, will be entertaining. Pete & Karen Sutherland with Brian Perkins and Pierre Chartrand, a Quebec step-dancer/caller/instructor, promise a lively evening of dance with instruction and songs from 7 to 9 pm. Admission buttons are $35 per couple or $20 per person and are available at Addison Outfitters and Linda’s Apparel & Gifts in Vergennes or by contacting the Chamber at 388-7951.
Activities on Saturday, July 16 run from 10 am to 4 pm. Vergennes City Park will be host to day-long activities and feature colorful re-enactors, wine tastings, Franco-American music, French-Canadian fiddling, response songs, step-dancing, fencing demonstrations, French food, and traditional craft demonstrations such as spinning, weaving, rug hooking, rag rug making, crocheting, knitting, chair caning and rush weaving, basket making. Exhibits will range from French artistry, to historical information and tools, to antique vehicles and engines.
Hands-on fun includes pumping water, making rope, old-time games and children’s activities. Plan to stroll through the farmers’ market, trace your roots with the Vermont French-Canadian Genealogical Society, or practice your French with any number of people including participating local French conversational groups. Take a horse and carriage ride or join in a French and English-narrated walking tour of the city of Vergennes.
Performances at the Vergennes bandstand include the Fiddleheads, Francesca Blanchard, Erik & Ericka Andrus, and back by popular demand, accordionist Leanna Inzalaco. The Green Mountain Cloggers & Friends will perform at Vergennes Opera House in the afternoon.
French Heritage Days is held with the support of many sponsors: 3 Squares Café, Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Addison Outfitters, Black Sheep Bistro, City of Vergennes, Good Companion Bakery, Linda’s Apparel and Gifts, Lisa Sprague, National Bank of Middlebury, Simply Nice Things, Tim Hodson, Tourterelle Restaurant, Vergennes Opera House and Vergennes Wine & Beverage.
About Addison County Chamber of Commerce
The Addison County Chamber of Commerce (ACCOC) is an association of individuals representing business interests, working together to promote commercial business and tourism in Addison County. The Chamber can be found on the Web at www.addisoncounty.com.
Image caption: “Caleche Stop” by Colette Paul, a French Canadian artist originally from Quebec, now an Addison County resident. This image is being used on marketing materials and admission buttons for French Heritage Day. See website at: www.colettepaul.com