Festival FrancoFun
New venue, new dates, same fun
Next week’s festival at the Franco center will offer up the traditional mix of music, dancing and food.
By My Tien Huynh
Staff Writer
LEWISTON — “I’m excited! It’s always a pleasure to celebrate our rich French-American culture,” said Rita Dube, with a big smile.
Dube, as director of the Franco-American Heritage Center and Lewiston’s annual Festival FrancoFun, will be doubling her pleasure and others’ this year when the Franco festival comes to the heritage center for the first time in its long history.
The center, housed in the former St. Mary’s Church on Cedar Street and created to preserve, celebrate and pass on French heritage in Maine, will host the festival next weekend, June 19-21.
Dube cited cost efficiency as the reason for moving the festival from the Colisee. And she said ensuring the comfort of attendees was the reason for changing the dates of the festival from August to June.
“It gets quite hot in the center in August, especially when the humidity is absorbed into the church. I want to make sure that people are comfortable,” she said.
Dube and Denise Marois, box office manager at FAHC, are excited about having the cultural festival at the center, which is full of artwork and collectable pieces reflecting Franco-American history in Maine.
Despite the changes, Dube said this year’s event promises the same fun and celebration that the large Franco-American population in the area has come to expect from the festival.
With seven acts lined up and one to to be announced, Dube said she has made sure there would be plenty of room for dancing. “We have at least four acts performing on both Friday and Saturday. Music will be playing all day long.”
Louis Philippe, a French-born romantic-balladeer, producer and longtime favorite among Franco-Americans in L-A, French country and jazz artist Gizele Laliberte, and popular Canadian entertainers Chantal et Marcel are among the headliners.
More notably, according to Dube, the event combines entertainment with the recognition of Franco-American contributions to the state of Maine, officially beginning with the singing of the national anthems in front of the Franco-American War Veterans Color Guard at 6 p.m. on Friday and concluding with a six-hour brunch on Sunday.

Festival schedule
WHEN: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 19-21
WHERE: Franco-American Heritage Center, 46 Cedar St., Lewiston
TICKETS: $10 for Friday and Saturday concerts; tickets may be purchased at the door or by calling 689-2000. 
Friday, June 19, 2 p.m.: Local Franco-American musicians The Trio will perform French and English songs sprinkled with polkas and jigs. Also on the afternoon schedule will be Melanie Saucier, known for her repertoire of French songs originating from Quebec and other French-speaking countries.
Friday, June 19, 6 p.m.: Melanie Saucier will sing the national and international anthems, as the official opening to the weekend’s festivities.
Friday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.: Louis Philippe will give a songful and comedic performance as Father Frenchie. 
Friday, June 19, 8:45 p.m.: Les Chanteurs Acadiens will perform a repertoire of old and new French-Acadian songs.
Saturday, June 20, 1 p.m.: Chantal et Marcel will take the stage at 1 p.m., followed by Gizele Laliberte; both are from Quebec. Also performing will be Robert Sylvain and the Cajun Aces, who will deliver a Portland-style take (complete with horn section) on classic Cajun material.
Breakfast opens at 7 a.m. Friday and Saturday with crêpes served all day. Lunch and dinner will be available on Friday and Saturday; and brunch on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a bean supper from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Saturday, June 20, 4 p.m.: celebratory Mass for FrancoFun at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
FOR MORE INFO OR UPDATES: visit www.francoamericanheritage.org or call 783-1585  

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