LEWISTON — In a break from its usual scheduling on the first Friday of each month, the Franco-American Heritage Center has scheduled the next La Rencontre, its monthly French language luncheon, for Friday, March 8 at 11:30 a.m.
Lunch is being donated by DaVinci’s Eatery and will consist of cheese lasagna along with DaVinci’s distinctive rolls, a garden salad and bread pudding for dessert. The event is open to the public and admission is $7, which includes the meal and entertainment afterward upstairs in the Franco Center’s Performance Hall.
Entertainment for the event will be provided by dozens of students from L’ecole Francaise du Maine, a French language elementary school in Freeport whose students appear each spring at La Rencontre. They will perform the French musical “Emilie Jolie,” written by Philippe Chatel and featuring costumes designed by the students themselves.
Patrons who wish to attend must either call the Franco Center at 783-1585 or call Monique Gagne at 783-0042 before Tuesday, March 5. After a vote by patrons last month, the Franco Center has adopted a policy of mandatory reservations so that an adequate amount of food can be prepared and to ensure that more people than the Franco Center can hold do not spontaneously decide to attend at the last minute.
“We’re not saying people will necessarily be turned away if we don’t have their names in advance,” said executive director Louis Morin, “but those without reservations will have to wait in the lobby until just before 11:30 in fairness to those who took the time and effort to register.”
Morin added that the combination of a meal prepared by a restaurant like DaVinci’s and the appeal of a musical staged by French-speaking children makes for the possibility of an overflow crowd.
“Whenever we have a combination of a particularly great meal and entertainment that patrons look forward to, there’s always the chance that there will be more demand than we can satisfy,” he said. “That’s especially true if the weather’s nice. But once we hit our maximum capacity of 280 people under the fire code, we cannot let any more people in. That’s the law.”
Patrons are encouraged to speak only French during the meal in Heritage Hall, which is accessed on the Oxford Street side of the building. In the spirit of fun, persons overheard speaking English may be fined a quarter for doing so, or they may “buy” the right to openly speak in English for one dollar.
The next La Rencontre is scheduled for Thursday, April 4, a day earlier than its usual Friday date so that the Franco Center can host film screenings as part of the 2013 Lewiston-Auburn Film Festival.