A parade Wednesday night kicked off the Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France, a historic festival that showcases Quebec City’s 17th and 18th century heritage and culture.
“Twelve years, I’ve been here, each summer because I like history,” said Joachin Crête, who will be dressed in period costume until the festival ends on Sunday.
“I’m a sailor, so you have maybe the myth of the great sailor, who’s this, 6-foot tall, blonde hair…Look at me, I’m not there, I’m not this guy. So it’s a confrontation of what you have in your head and what’s the reality.”
What better way to get into that reality than to dress for the age?
“You can be a peasant for $60,” said Patrick Lavallée, who owns the festival’s official costume store.
He makes all the costumes by hand.
For around $300, you can buy a nobleman or woman’s costume.
“I’m an excessive man, so my costumes are also excessive in their quality. I use stones, lace from Italy, silk from Thailand,” Lavallée said.
Like the costumes, the festival is also multicultural, celebrating the heritage of all the founding peoples of Quebec.
“From Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Amérindien,” said Crête.
“It is so important for people to know what was going on before, how it happened, how it grew up and how the country began.”
While celebrating its collective heritage, the festival is also celebrating its own history.
For its 20th anniversary, organizers planned a number of shows with Quebec bands to play each night.
The festival runs Aug. 3 – 7.