Come celebrate Coaticook
When you walk into the office of the coordinator of Coaticook’s 150th anniversary celebrations, Emilie Drouin, it’s easy to see that, for that year-long celebration, there is a lot going on. The small room in the basement of Coaticook’s Town Hall was more like a cross
between an event-planning office and a packing house, with boxes of souvenirs like baseball caps and beer steins lining the walls. During an interview there, people kept stopping in at this office, the hub of the 150th celebrations, usually to buy a copy of the new book that was just published by the Corporation du 150e de Coaticook, the celebration’s official committee. Entitled Coaticook racontée par ses citoyens, it seemed to be flying off the shelves!
“Emily’s job is endless. She’s not just coordinating all the events but also a whole team of people. She is our only full time employee working on the celebration, everyone else is a volunteer,” said Coaticook councilor Luc Marcoux who is a member of the organizing committee.
“I work with communications, I’m the link with all the organizations who are planning things, I manage the finances and oversee all aspects of the celebration,” added Ms. Drouin. “And she has to keep an eye on our two presidents,” joked Mr. Marcoux. Johanne Provencher, of Laiterie de Coaticook fame, copresides over the celebration along with René Larochelle and works alongside Ms. Drouin daily out of necessity for the ambitious undertaking. “I’ll have to retire for a second time after this year; I’m working at it fulltime and sometimes have to go out in the evenings as well!” said Ms. Provencher.
“Our mandate is to organize a celebration related to our theme: Celebrate the past – Shape the future. To organize a celebration that represents us; by the people, for the people, and with the people,” explained Emilie enthusiastically. “At the same time, we are planning many activities with children in mind. They will write our future and we want them to learn that,” said Ms. Provencher.
Most of the special events that have been planned for the 150th celebration will take place during the coming months, making the most of the warm weather for the many outdoor events. Up next will be the RCMP Musical Ride, coming to Coaticook on June 7th and 8th. “It was a hell of a job to get them here,” said Mr. Marcoux. “They will be staying up at the CRIFA for five days and people will be able to go and visit them there. After the shows on the weekend, people will be able to meet the riders and take pictures of the horses,” commented Ms. Provencher.
The ‘Big Day’ is to be held on July 19th, a nod to the region’s working class who will just be starting their summer holidays, with events taking place in the central municipal parking lot of the town. “It will be a free, all-day long event with games for children, jugglers, clowns, and lots of surprises,” said Ms. Drouin. A musical extravaganza with many Quebec artists, headlined by The Porn Flakes, will keep the party going in the evening. “We want families to come together and celebrate, to have fun. But not just at this event, but all year long. It’s their celebration,” said Johanne.
Since Coaticook people love a parade and many have been missing the Festival du Lait parade that stopped more than a decade ago, a parade has been planned to take place on August 9th, during the Expo de la Vallee de Coaticook. Anyone from the region is welcome to enter a float in the parade and they can get details on the celebration’s website. “People who come to watch the parade can dress in period costume or in a festive manner!”
An event that is sure to draw thousands of visi- tors to this historic village will be Townshippers’ Day, on September 13th. “The committee is already formed for Townshippers’ Day and they’re working well with the people from Townshippers’ Association. We’ll have parking on the outside, at the Gorge, with shuttles going back and forth. The Opening Ceremony will be at the Pavillon des Arts because we want to bring the people to the downtown area. The organizers are treating the whole thing like a ‘Grande Seduction’!”
And what would a big party be without souvenirs to remember the fun long after the occasion? “We really wanted to have practical things and things that would get young people involved,” said Ms. Drouin. Besides the beer steins and baseball caps, one impressive little souvenir is a colouring book for young children. It features historic buildings and popular activities around Coaticook for the children to colour, and comes with a little box of colouring pencils. Another popular souvenir are the one-of-akind miniature paintings of local landmarks, all done by local artist Koni Marcoux. Reasonablypriced, the demand for the tiny paintings has been keeping the artist busy. “We are a victim of our own success with Koni’s paintings,” admitted Johanne.
“I feel very privileged to do what I always wanted to do, event-planning, and do it in my hometown. I want everyone to be as proud of Coaticook as I am,” concluded Emilie.
For the complete schedule of events organized by the Corporation du 150e de Coaticook, events that are being organized by other local organizations in celebration, and regularly held activities, visit the website at www.coaticook150.ca.
Emilie Drouin (left) and Johanne Provencher pose with the main schedule of events on display at the Coaticook Town Hall.
Emilie Drouin (rigth) is busy coordinating Coaticook’s 150th anniversary celebration with help from retired business person, Johanne Provencher, the event’s co-president..