Honouring Louis Riel, carving out family time: Festival du Voyageur

Rudi Pawlychyn / Global News

Holiday Monday, Louis Riel Day here in Manitoba, saw many families at Voyageur Park in Winnipeg at Festival du Voyageur.

Opening ceremonies for Festival 2018 were held Friday night, and a new family-focused event calendar entertained crowds through the weekend.

READ MORE: Warm weather welcomes in Festival’s 2018 edition

Monday events included the canoe races, a circus show, music and a family dance party, to name a few.

A Metis flag procession was held at 1 p.m. honour Louis Riel.

The third Monday in February has been celebrated as Louis Riel Day in Manitoba since 2008.

“It was by his stand, and of other Métis leaders, that the Métis became Canada’s negotiating partners in Confederation and the founders of Manitoba,” Manitoba Metis Federation president David Chartrand said at a commemoration ceremony in St. Boniface in November.

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READ MORE: Métis commemorate father of Manitoba 

A main event Monday was the Quick Carve wood carving challenge. Chainsaw-wielding artisans were given an hour to transform a log into a work of art. The finished products were then auctioned off.

Families attending Festival on Sunday were treated to the first ever Cheese carving competition.

VIEW: images of artisans at work transforming blocks of cheese into edible art

Carvers hard at work making edible art at Festival du Voyageur Sunday. Mike Arsenaul / Global News
Cheese carving is a new activity at Festival du Voyageur. Mike Arsenault / Global News
Carvers show off their creations at the first-ever cheese carving competition at Festival du Voyageur. Mike Arsenault / Global News

Looking ahead, festival hours of operation are:

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  • Monday Feb. 19 – 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday Feb. 20 – Voyageur Park closed to the public (school programming)
  • Wednesday Feb. 21  – Voyageur Park closed to the public (school programming)
  • Thursday Feb. 22  – 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Friday Feb. 23 – 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Saturday Feb. 24 – 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
  • Sunday Feb. 25  – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nicolas Audette, festival communications manager, said the 2018 event calendar has been planned with a focus on family.

“On this 49th year of Festival du Voyageur, we are focusing on bringing generations together to celebrate joie de vivre and create lifelong memories,” Audette said.

Audette said programming for children has doubled over previous years, providing families with countless hours of activities and entertainment. Admission is free this year for children 12 years and under.

Passes and the full event program can be found on the festival website.

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