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Fête de la Saint-Jean-Baptiste at La Broquerie

Pulling out all the stops for the 121st annual St. Jean Baptiste celebrations

 

La Broquerie is the place to be to celebrate French-Canadian heritage during the annual St. Jean Baptiste festivities. Once again this year, the municipality has pulled out all the stops to make this a marquee event on June 23 and 24. The program line-up includes sports tournaments, fun activities for the whole family, a parade, music, and much more!

 

 

On June 23 and 24, La Broquerie will be hosting the St. Jean Baptiste days celebrations. Roxane Dupuis, Board Chair of the St. Jean Baptiste Society, explains the vision: "You can see joie de vivre in February at Festival du Voyageur. St. Jean Baptiste is another opportunity to experience that vitality and pride in La Broquerie."

 

Did you know that La Broquerie has been the host village for St. Jean Baptiste celebrations since 1897? And, like any good host, the organizing committee has left no stone unturned; with a mix of traditional and new activities, there's something for everyone. Saturday morning kicks off with a pancake breakfast followed by a softball tournament. Roxane Dupuis is delighted: "We’re expecting as many as 20 teams. That’s four more than last year!"

There will also be a three-on-three street hockey tournament for children aged 8 to12. "This is the first year for this activity," adds Dupuis.

 

Day one of the festivities will wrap up with a musical performance by Jérémie and the Delicious Hounds.

 

The following day, the official St. Jean Baptiste Day, a 10 a.m. mass will be held at Saint-Joachim Parish. "It's great that it falls on a Sunday. You can't celebrate St. Jean Baptiste without a religious service. That's what St. Jean Baptiste Day was originally all about! We know that the Francophone community has changed, but we still want to take the opportunity to pay tribute to our roots," says Roxane Dupuis.


 

After Mass, it's time for the parade – the highlight of the festival. This year, for the first time, "the parade will include the 15-piece Winnipeg Police Pipe Band. With their trumpets and drums, they will definitely add to the festive atmosphere," she says. There will be more than 50 floats in the parade. "This year, we've invited families who have been in La Broquerie for several generations to create a float that promotes their family and its deep roots in La Broquerie."

 

There is still time for interested parade participants to sign up online (https://ssjb.ca/). "My favourites are the La Broquerie firemen," says Dupuis. "If it’s a hot day, they spray the crowd. The kids love it."

 

At 12:30 p.m., the historical trail designed by the La Broquerie community development society will be unveiled. Signs posted all around the municipality feature QR codes that visitors can scan to learn more about things like St. Jean Baptiste Day.

 

 

"Not everyone is familiar with the history of our communities. It’s a way for visitors and residents of La Broquerie alike to learn a bit more about this village, to underscore and celebrate our achievements, and maybe even grow our audience!"

 

The day will conclude with main stage performances by Andrina Turenne and Jacques Chauvin along with other musicians.

 

A La Broquerie native who moved back 11 years ago with her family, Roxane Dupuis is keenly aware of the importance of the St. Jean Baptiste celebration. "There is a huge responsibility to keep these festivities going for future generations. Once a year, this event brings the people of La Broquerie back to La Broquerie. Former residents are pretty much obliged to return for this holiday!"

 

Last year's St. Jean Baptiste days were attended by some 2,000 people. The St. Jean Baptiste Society hopes to surpass that number this year.

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