There were reportedly 100 or so floats and other entries in the Celebration 150 parade. The rain didn’t seem to discourage people one bit. Courtesy Photo

ST. ALBERT – To many people in eastern Ontario, St. Albert is best known for its famous curds and cheese, as well as the bridge that leads into the community. St. Albert has much more to offer though, and it was all on display last weekend, all wrapped up in an enormous serving of community spirit in Festival 150, the community’s 150th birthday.

The festival kicked off on Thurs., June 20 with a bingo organized by the Knights of Columbus. As bingo’s go, this was a good one with over $3,000 in prizes.

On Fri., June 21, things really got rolling with the 150th anniversary show with several Francophone musical acts under the musical direction of Brian St. Pierre, and stage direction of Nathalie Deslauriers. The evening closed with a fireworks display.

Sat., June 22 during the day there was a strong emphasis on children’s activities between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. There were inflatable structures, pedal karts, poutine and Chiboulette the clowns, a balloon maker and a magician show at 10 a.m. There were also a variety of food trucks available.

The evening offered another wonderful opportunity for some musical entertainment. DJ Marty was there to warm things up at 8:00 p.m. with Matt Lang taking the stage at 9:00 p.m.

June 22 would also be the day that the dancing tractors made their first appearance, with shows at 11:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. You have never seen square dancing like this. The originator of the idea was reportedly Francois Latour. The group has been practicing for about a year and a half, first on foot, and then on the tractors, but Saturday was their first actual performance.  As with traditional square dancing there are eight people (four couples). Unlike traditional square dancing, most of the dancers in this case were men, but thanks to the creative sewing ability of Hélène Roy, costumes were prepared so that each couple appeared to have a male and a female partner.

The tractor “dancers” were Joël Larocque & Guy Cayer, Yvon Racine & Martin Vendette, Réjean Roy & Robert Latour, and Yannick Gagné & Yanik Bourbonnais. There are also two substitutes, François Latour & Stéfanie Latour. The square dance caller was Louis Racine.

Sun., June 23 was the final day of the festival, and it would start with a mass at St. Albert church at 9:00 a.m. followed by a parade with approximately 100 floats at 1:00 p.m. and the third and final tractor dance at 3:30 p.m. followed by a gathering under the tent to celebrate the end of the festival.

A full weekend of activities which showed that you don’t need a big city to put on a big celebration. Johanne Enenvoyage was one person of many who were involve in the event, but who would have appreciated it even if that hadn’t been the case. “For me, what made it so special was to see the dedication and the involvement of the people that came, even when it was raining. You know, there were not just young people that come, you know, there were, you know, guys there are not that young, and they braved the rain just to come and enjoy everything.”