As of this June, the Club Optimiste de Saint Anicet has been around for 40 years providing services for its community. One of the ways in which it finances activities is the annual Festival du Maïs or Corn Festival. This year’s edition will take place from July 28 to 30. It marks the first festival in three years.
“It’s a challenge to come back and get into it; it’s been good teamwork with our committee. We’re happy, we had a big campaign to get sponsors, and that went super well,” explains Sylvain Gascon, one of the event’s organizers. He says there have been some changes made, the main one being the location. “It’ll be at the Cercle de Loisirs in Cazaville, which is still in Saint-Anicet but a bit outside of the village. This way, parking will be easier and so will the installations.” There is even enough space for 15 RVs to park at the festival; reservations can be made on the Club Optimiste’s website.
This year’s activities will provide a good mix of what people expect and some new twists. “We have bingo on Friday night, which is very popular,” says Gascon. On Saturday, there will be a baseball game to watch. On Sunday, there will be 1980s-style roller skating; “It’s a company that comes with everything … They’ll be set up on the rink with music for people to skate to. The Cercle de Loisirs de Cazaville’s sponsorship helped us be able to get this.” There will also be a friendly competition amongst members of the fire brigade, and throughout the weekend there will be activities for kids and multiple food trucks on site.
On Saturday night, the popular Quebec band Boogie Wonder Band will be performing. So far about 500 tickets have been sold for this event, and Gascon encourages people to get their tickets now. This event is the only part of the festival that charges admission ($35 per person). Though the band plays at 8 p.m., the ticket includes line dancing on Saturday evening, which starts at 6 p.m.
Giving back to the community
The Club Optimiste is involved with various community initiatives. Gascon explains the organization helps out at the elementary school: “We pay for all of the agendas for all the kids.” It also gives out candy at Halloween, organizes Valentine’s Day dances, Easter Egg Hunts, and events for senior citizens.
This year the club was seeking more volunteers and had a good response from many young people. As a thank-you to those young volunteers, there will be a waterslide trip in August. People who wish to join this may be able to buy tickets, but it will be free for volunteers. There will also be a dinner for volunteers in September. Help is still needed, especially with the setup for bingo on the Thursday before the festival. Gascon says the best way to get more info and stay up to date is to follow the club’s Facebook page.
He invites people from all over the Valley and beyond to come out and celebrate at the festival as a way “to celebrate the municipality.” He adds that “It’s a way to give back to the community.” He makes sure to send shoutouts to all the people who make the event possible: “Thank you to all of our volunteers and sponsors! We’re so happy to have so much support from the community.”