Wakefield, Que Harvest Festival a fine, feathered affair

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by Mark Burgess on September 30, 2009

Ojibwa and Algonquin dancers

Ojibwa and Algonquin dancers

Wakefield was packed from teepee to teepee Sept. 26, as the perfect storm of the Harvest Festival, the Gatineau River festival and two steam train arrivals drew hundreds of visitors for a beautiful and exciting Saturday in the village.

The boaters arrived early, unloading dozens of canoes and kayaks and setting off downstream to Cantley between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., dotting the river with colourful vessels.

The harvest festival built the momentum on its first day of the two-day celebration, providing entertainment and activities from the 7 a.m. sunrise ceremony to Hereditary Chief of the Mi’kmaq Stephen Augustine’s evening lecture. From the Peace Park’s Eagle of the Nest Teepee to the Bear of the West Teepee at the farmer’s market, guests were invited to listen to storytellers, make drums, and watch drumming and dance performances.

Augustine, who is also the Museum of Civilization’s ethnology curator, nearly filled the room for his lecture at Vorlage. The Mi’kmaq chief spoke for almost two hours about the sacred balance, within the individual, society and the earth.

Sept. 30 Page 1

Sept. 30 Page 1

Alternately funny and profound, Augustine kept the crowd of close to 100 engaged throughout.

The festival concluded with a Feast of local foods, also at Vorlage, prepared by chef Alain Belair of Wakefield.