by Catherine Dunwoody

Friday, March 6th kicks off the annual Francophone festival and you don’t want to miss out. Musical artists, family cultural activities and of course fabulous food bring the big heated tents at Mackin Park in Maillardville, Coquitlam to life in celebration of the festival’s 31st anniversary.

Festival du Bois is the largest festival of its kind in BC, bringing a little bit of Québécois culture to the west coast. Friday’s kick-off includes the Friday Night Contra Dance in the Grand Chapiteau (big tent), featuring live music from The Celtic Lasses and The Sybaritic String Band, Vancouver’s premier contradance band. What’s that exactly? Contra dancing is social dancing done in lines of couples to live traditional music. There’s a dance caller who teaches easy “figures” on the spot, like in square dancing, and prompts you during the dance. Fun!

Traditional poutine at the festival | Image courtesy of the Festival du Bois

But since we are all about the food here at WestCoastFood, we are super stoked about the booth at the festival where they sell cuisine traditionnelle. Try some hearty, traditional tourtière, the famed Quebecois double-crusted meat pie with a flaky, buttery crust, savour the gravy and cheese curds of a decadent bowl of poutine, or enjoy the flavour of a traditional Montreal smoked meat sandwich. New this year is the cheesy melty deliciousness of raclette from Frencheese Raclette.  And for dessert don’t miss the sinfully good maple sugar pie, or maple taffy made on snow from the folks at the Cabane à Sucre André Beauregard Sugar Shack.

Grab some tickets to the pancake and maple syrup breakfast Sunday at 10am for $8 adults, $4 children – but do note that this doesn’t include admission to the festival site itself.

On Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8, musical groups include the Quebecois performers the Yves Lambert Trio, Tipsy 3, Cristian De La Luna, Roger Dallaire, Daniel Gervais and Jeremiah McDade, Le Flo Franco, Beauséjour, Blackthorn, Isabelle la Wonderful, Madame Diva, Griottes Polyglotte and Wanda Jemly.

The Grand Chapiteau (Big Tent) is also where you’ll find the booths from a selection of talented artisans and info kiosks where you can learn all about local francophone and community organizations.

Maple Taffy, Festival Dubois
Maple Taffy | Image courtesy of the Festival du Bois

To fully embrace the spirit of the festival be sure to wear your plaid to honour the lumberjack heritage of the community and celebrate its French-Canadian pioneering history.  Add a traditional sash to your ensemble, and remember, wearing plaid is warm … and cool!

Francophone family fun!

For tickets and information visit