Carnaval anticipation builds

Red Deer will celebrate Alberta’s francophone heritage during the third annual 2012 Red Deer Carnaval on March 2 at Bower Ponds.

Red Deer will celebrate Alberta’s francophone heritage during the third annual 2012 Red Deer Carnaval on March 2 at Bower Ponds.

The bilingual festival, hosted by the Association canadienne-francaise de L’Alberta (ACFA), will feature a number of events and musical entertainment.

Entry to the site — open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — is free. However, it is $5 for those planning on taking part in several games and activities like skating, hockey, snowshoeing, giant foozeball, crazy carpet, tug-of-war, ring toss, lawn darts and a kiddie stryker.

A sugar shack will also be on site creating maple syrup sticks for $3.

The carnaval will officially be kicked off with the raising of the Franco-Albertan flag at 10 a.m. Dignitaries such as Mayor Morris Flewwelling, Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski and a representative of MP Earl Dreeshen will be in attendance.

At least 670 students from five schools will also attend the carnaval, which is open to the public.

“If everything works out, we should be hovering around zero so it should be fun,” Alyssa Sherman, project co-ordinator with the association, said on Friday, noting that last year -40C weather “dampened” the festivities.

“It’s the last bit of winter fun before the spring arrives and it is a good way to find out, not just about the francophone community, but the various multicultural communities in Red Deer,” she said.

Musical entertainment will begin at 10:30 a.m. by Trad’badour, Arianne Mahryke Lemire, Justin Blais, Tap 9 and Randi Boulton.

“We have roughly 2,000 francophones in Red Deer and the fact that we live in a bilingual country our presence is important,” Sherman said.

There will be other community events going on throughout the city from March 5 to 16 in celebration of the French-Canadian Heritage week.

On March 10, there will be a French-Canadian theme story for children at the Red Deer Public Library.

For a full list of other community events, Sherman recommends that people visit www.reddeercarnaval.com.

The downtown library will also feature a free Central Alberta French heritage exhibition on the second floor near the mezz.

A French film with English subtitles will be shown at Carnival Cinemas on March 14, at 7 p.m.

Closing ceremonies will be held on March 24 at the Crossroads Church at 38105 Range Road 275 in Red Deer County. Youth from local schools will sing and dance, followed by a musical performance by Davis Jalbert.

Tickets for this event are $15 per member and $20 for non-members. Tickets are available at the ACFA office at 4930-B Ross St. or can also be purchased at the door the night of the event. Call 403-986-4350 for more information.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com