Jun. 24 | Bonne Fête de la St-Jean!

  • Posted on: 25 June 2010
  • By: Michelle

st jean

So, want to hear something totally awesome? My podunk hippie little British Columbian town, which apparently boasts a 15 per cent Francophone population, had a big St-Jean Baptiste celebration for the first time ever this year. They closed down the main downtown street, and there were local French musicians and vendors, and Québecois cuisine, and of course a beer garden.

Now, I was expecting typical Québec fares, like poutine and tortière and steamed hot dogs and maple sugar. But I almost jumped out of my shoes when I saw one of the vendors selling what I realized was the gastronomical synopsis of my youth: Jos. Louis' cakes and cans of Pepsi.

st jean

Even I, a staunch Coca-Cola loyalist, could crack open a Pepsi and raise a glass on this particular day. I giggled my way down the street, Jos. Louis and Pepsi in hand.

When I first saw the posters up around town, I was totally excited, but one has to wonder how successful a festival celebrating the ostensible and controversial "nationalism" of a province on the other side of the country could possibly be.

st jean

But, man, you gotta love Squish, because this community comes out in droves for whatever festival, party, parade or celebration is happening, rain or shine, night or day, bilingual or not. It was straight-up wicked, and frankly, probably the best St. Jean Baptiste celebration I have ever been to, inside or outside of Québec. Why? Because this party was about sharing cultures and just plain having fun. It wasn't about politics, or ethnicities, and there were no language battles like some of the festivities I attended in my youth. No one yelled at me "Anglo go home!"

There was just a relaxed flow of French and English and great accents in both languages and poutine and tortière and Pepsis and Jos. Louis' and music and dancing and hoola hoops, and good grief, there was even a huge French flag hanging from my favourtie clothes shop in town. Like, a France French flag. Why? Oh, who knows, probably because this was a celebration of French things, and that is a French flag, and so it's a perfect decoration. But who the hell cares? The shop owner was totally excited about her Québec flag hanging on the one side, and her huge French flag on the other, and proudly pointed them both out to me. And while you are not likely to see such decor at a "real" St-Jean Baptiste celebration in a "real" Québecois town, the spirit was bang on, and made it the most real Fête de la St-Jean I've ever been to.

LOVE it!