French Heritage Day celebrates 12th year on June 25

Parlez-vous Français? Or wish you did? If so, mark your calendars for the 12th annual French Heritage Day on Sunday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s day of festivities will take place in Winooski. It’s a free, daylong celebration of all things Franco in Vermont’s most French-settled city — from the pre-British farmer-settlers to 10th century millworkers to today’s French-speaking New Americans.
Music will be performed by A2VT, La Croisée d’Antan, Yankee Chank, Main fiddler Gus La Casse and Middlebury’s own Va-et-vient. Art, crafts, family, history, museums, games, a Farmers’ Market and, of course, food will keep everyone busy and happy. Linda Smith, of Middlebury, will have a stand of French paintings and cards. And Les Boulangers — a French conversation group that began at the Bristol Bakery back in 1994 — will lead songs from France and Québec.
This francophone festival is the only one of its kind in the state. It started in Vergennes, where the Middlebury Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event for nine years, explained retired Middlebury College professor Simon Barenbaum. But because of budget difficulties the Chamber stopped.
“The Festival was rescued by Steve Norman, from Burlington, who coordinates three French conversation groups,” said Barenbaum, a founding member of Les Boulangers. “With the help of the Historic Society of Winooski, Norman ran the 2015 event, the 10th, and the year after, the 11th … He is now preparing this year’s 12th annual French Heritage Day.”
The French Heritage Day is a production of the Winooski Community Partnership and the Winooski Historical Society. More info on Facebook @VermontFrenchHeritageDay, or email [email protected].

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