LEWISTON — The Franco-American Heritage Center will hold its next French language luncheon, known as “La Rencontre,” on Friday, July 12, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The event is being held on the second Friday of the month instead of the traditional first Friday in observance of the long Fourth of July weekend.

July’s meal follows a summer picnic theme and consists of finger rolls with a choice of ham salad, egg salad or seafood salad filling, along with potato salad and pasta salad, chips and a slice of watermelon.

After the meal, guitarist and singer Barry Wood of Jay will entertain patrons in the Franco Center’s Performance Hall accompanied by Nel Meservier on keyboards and Sue Rouleau and Lorraine Giasson on vocals. Wood performs a combination of soft pop, country and patriotic songs.

Everyone is invited to attend La Rencontre, although reservations are required no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9. To attend, call the Franco Center at 783-1585 during regular business hours or send an email to [email protected] The cost to attend is $7, which includes the meal and the entertainment. Patrons are asked to indicate their preference of finger roll filling, if they have one, when they make reservations.

Advance registration helps the Franco Center prepare an accurate number of meals and protects against occasional overcrowding when the menu or the entertainment, or both, are particularly popular with the event’s regular patrons.

The Franco Center also recently announced that starting in September, La Rencontre would be moving to a different day of the week. Instead of the first Friday, it will take place on the first Wednesday of each month beginning Sept. 4. Franco Center officials said the long advance notice was to give people plenty of time to adjust to the idea of change.

The reason for the change, they say, is that the venue hosts live performances on Friday nights to a much greater extent than in the early years after La Rencontre migrated there after initially being held at local restaurants. Nowadays, live shows happen nearly every Friday night of the year at the Franco Center, apart from the summer months.

Patrons are encouraged to speak in French during the meal in Heritage Hall, although it’s not mandatory. In the spirit of fun, and as a way to remind patrons of the overt discrimination that French speakers once faced in Maine, persons overheard speaking English may be fined a quarter, or they may “buy” the right to openly speak in English for one dollar.


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