Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vergennes French Heritage Day

"French Heritage Day"  Watercolor and Gouache by Linda Hampton Smith

A sizeable part of Vermont's population has Québécois heritage.  This hearkens to the mid 1800's when the  province of Québec suffered widespread crop failure. Political clashes between the British and the French worsened. Many French Canadians sought employment and refuge from discrimination by traveling south.  They found work in the mill towns of Vermont and throughout New England.  Life was no paradis, however.  Wages were low and spoken French was forbidden in the classroom.  Sadly, many children felt ashamed of their heritage and the French language soon languished.

In a redemptive move at righting such wrongs, many Franco-Americans are casting a compassionate eye on their heritage.  French Heritage Festivals are springing up everywhere.   Here in Vermont, Vergennes hosts "French Heritage Day."  This year's fête will be held on July 9th and 10th on the city's beautiful town green, in the Opera House and along the streets of this charming ville.  A parisian-style waiter race is among the days events! 

I will be exhibiting and selling my artwork along with other artistespâtissiers, boulangers, chanteurs...
I get to revel in pure Francophilia and chat in French toute la journée!  LOVE it.  If you're in the area,  je vous invite! 

Along with this groundswell of Franco-American pride comes a growing number of musical groups who perform traditional Québécois songs.  "Va et Vient", a local band, has samples on their website. Écoutez and Enjoy!

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