The rich cultural heritage of Canadians who settled in Waterville many years ago will be highlighted at the 11th annual Franco-American Family Festival.

The event, set for Saturday in Winslow and Sunday in Waterville, is expected to draw people from near and far to socialize, eat tourtiere and other specialty foods, listen to music and reconnect with friends and family.

The event starts at 4 p.m. Saturday with a Franco-American Memorial mass at St. John the Baptist Church in Winslow and is organized by the Franco-American Heritage Society of Kennebec County and sponsored by the city of Waterville.

A bean supper sponsored by St. John Knights of Columbus Council will follow at 4:30 p.m. and continue until 7 p.m. at St. John School cafeteria. The cost for dinner is $7 for adults, $4 for children and $20 for families.

From noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, the festival continues at Head of Falls off Front Street in Waterville where the bands LeFamille LeBlanc and Blistered Fingers will perform.

A classic car show organized by Rick Fisher will be featured, as well as a smokehouse demonstration by the Waterville Fire Department, according to festival coordinator Karen Rancourt-Thomas, who is also president of the Franco-American Heritage Society.

“It’s a great event,” Rancourt-Thomas said of the festival. “It’s really family oriented. It’s family fun — a free festival for families to come down and enjoy.”

Crafters and artisans will sell their wares, and a South End Museum in the Streets exhibit will be on display, she said. Also, a genealogy display will be set up.

St. Joseph Maronite Catholic Church will sell cookbooks and specialty foods and the St. John Knights of Columbus Council will sell ice cream crepes.

The popular tourtiere — pork pie — contest will be judged from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Rancourt-Thomas said the judging will be a little different this year with three people from the audience chosen to judge entries.

Anyone can bring tourtiere to the festival for the contest. Winners get ribbons.

A new feature this year is a dunk tank hosted by Waterville Senior High School football players.

Last year and this year’s Acadian Princess of the festival is Rancourt-Thomas’ daughter, Ailie, 8, who will open the festival at Head of Falls by leading the pledge of allegiance. The 2013 festival Memere is Jeanette Picard LeBlanc.

Selection of both the 2014 Memere and princess (to be renamed Franco Princess) will be done in a different way, Rancourt-Thomas said. Nomination boxes will be set up at this year’s festival for people to choose a princess and memere, and winners will be announced during intermission.

If it rains, the festival will be held at Alfond Youth Center on North Street.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]

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