Saturday, July 13, 2024

Mansfield’s annual party expands for Canada Day, 175th anniversary

The community of Mansfield rallied in the rain over the weekend for its annual Mansfield en fête festival, which this year was also used as an opportunity to celebrate Canada Day as well as the town’s 175th anniversary.
The festival, hosted at the town’s Amyotte Park, offered a canteen and bar, live dance and music performances, and a baseball tournament which, according to Mansfield en fête president Martin Leguerrier, went ahead despite the rain.
“They never stopped,” Leguerrier said. “They ran in the mud, it was fun to watch.”
Marc-Antoine Côté was hanging out with his friends along the first-base fence watching the tournament unfold. His team was done playing for the day, so he was enjoying a few beers.
He said he enjoys coming out to Mansfield en fête every year because he likes seeing his friends and family.
“I come out here and hang out with the boys,” he said, right before rattling off a list of a dozen or so people on the field who he knew personally.
This year’s festival coincided with two other important dates: the Canada Day long weekend, as well as the ongoing festivities for Mansfield and Pontefract’s 175th anniversary.
Leguerrier said the festival offered more activities this year because all these celebrations converged on a single weekend.
“We’re offering an additional day this year,” he said, noting that they ran three full days of activities this year instead of the usual two.
Children’s activities were provided by Le Patro, and kids could choose between archery, giant building blocks, and a mini-putt course, among others.
Music, as always, played a big part in the festivities. A diverse lineup of musicians rocked the Sylvain Bégin stage throughout the weekend, including Ottawa Valley country icons Louis Schreyer and Gail Gavan.
Leguerrier said they had a lot of success last year bringing in local artists, and they wanted to do the same again this year.
“People in the Pontiac want to support local artists,” he said.
On Saturday night, a huge crowd gathered to watch a performance from the Corriveau School of Dance, which included dance numbers by professionals Marie-Josée Corriveau and Jason Morel.
The crowd let out whoops and cheers as various dancers, most of them teenagers, lifted their partners into the air, spun them around, and gracefully placed them back onto the ground, never breaking stride.
When they were done, the dozen or so dancers held hands and bowed as the crowd applauded the impressive performance.
Later on Saturday night, Leguerrier himself got up on stage to perform a DJ set, exactly as he has done for over 20 years.
This year was his first as president of the committee, and he was pleased with how the event turned out.
“People are happy, families are happy, dogs are happy,” he said.
Leguerrier said he wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time, but also that they were being safe.
He said volunteers were encouraging people to eat, especially if they have been drinking.
Cadets from the Sûreté du Québec were also there making sure everyone was having fun in a safe and responsible way.
Leguerrier was pleased to report that, as of Saturday night, there hadn’t been any fights, noting that violence can break out when people have been drinking.
The festivities concluded on Sunday night with the traditional fireworks display, which, Leguerrier says, is one of the weekend’s biggest crowd-pleasers.


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