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6th Festival FrancoFun opens tomorrow

Festival FrancoFun, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4 at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston, presents a weekend of local and regional music, food and Franco-American culture.

The Festival opens at 11:30 a.m on Friday with La Rencontre in Heritage Hall, featuring a $7 luncheon followed by entertainment in the Performance Hall. Louis Philippe, a Portland-based entertainer and local favorite, will open festival weekend singing the American, Canadian and French national anthems in addition to his good-humored storytelling and singing.

After the festival opening, Rita Dube, executive director of the Franco Center, will host the new Franco-American Kitchen Show with local “chefs” demonstrating their Franco-American recipes from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Heritage Hall.

The recipes will include pea soup, prepared by Ken Blais; cretons and tourtières by Diane Valliere-Mailhot; salmon pie by Marie Lizotte; and crêpes and their variety of uses by Sadie Blais.

Patrons will be able to see the chef in his “kitchen,” preparing his dishes on counter and stove, projected onto a 10-foot video wall. During the show, there will be a contest for “best tourtière,” judged by Marcel Chaloux, Roger Roy, Pauline Langelier and Richard Martin.

Enter the contest by contacting the FAHC Box Office at 783-1585. Patrons will be invited to taste the various recipes and sample wine from Tanguay and Son Winery of Lewiston, served by vintner Daniel Tanguay.

At 6 p.m. in Heritage Hall, the evening’s entertainment will open with popular local accordionist, Normand Gagnon and Le Groupe de Joie with Mike Giasson on bass; Greg Boardman on fiddle; Nicholas Boucher on spoons; Marcel Larrivee on acoustic guitar; and Nel Meservier on keyboards.

The Just Us Entertainers will follow at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall, offering a variety of pop/musical numbers as a benefit performance for the Franco Center. After the concert, patrons will be invited downstairs to an “after party” with DJ Marcel Gagne until 11 p.m.

On Saturday, June 4, breakfast will open at 7 a.m., followed by a lunch menu at 11 a.m. Entertainment opens at 1 p.m. with Present Company followed by the Ouellette, Dube, and Leclair Trio at 2:30 p.m.

At 6 p.m., Va-et-Vient of Vermont will open the evening’s series. The group’s focus is French music from Quebec, France and Louisiana. A sizeable percentage of New England’s population is of French-Canadian descent. Va-et-vient celebrates the music of this wonderfully rich culture, and keeps its presence alive for both young and old listeners through performance and education.

As a presenter of Franco-American music, Va-et-vient is continuously expanding its repertoire through study and discovery of resources, ranging from archived recordings to singing sessions at the homes of some of Quebec’s most respected keepers of the songs.

Also on the evening schedule will be Nel Meservier, member of the former C’est Si Bon Band, performing popular French melodies with vocalist Aurel Paquette and Meservier family members.

The event promises to have its familiar foods, including a Bean Supper on Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.—guaranteed to not run out of beans!

Breakfast opens at 7 a.m. on Friday and Saturday with crêpes served all day. A lunch and dinner menu will be available on Friday and Saturday. In addition to food and concerts, the Franco Center will also host craft vendors.

For more information and updates on all Festival FrancoFun activities, visit www.francocenter.org or call 689-2000. Concert admission is $10 for Friday and the same ticket price for Saturday. An advance ticket is $9.

Bean Supper tickets are $7 ($6 in advance), and Crêpe Breakfast tickets are $6 ($5 in advance). Festival tickets can be purchased on the day of the Festival or by calling 689-2000.

Festival FrancoFun provides an opportunity for festival-goers to experience Franco-American music, food and culture.

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