LEWISTON — A focus on Les fetes is the theme for the December Noel program at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College, hosted by the Franco-American Collection Board of Directors.

In 2018, the program will continue offering the community fun and educational events to learn about Francophone cultures and Maine’s Franco-Americans. Program planning is scheduled for December and into the spring of 2018, offering a monthly calendar. All activities are free and open to the public at the University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College, 50 Westminister St.

“Our volunteers and board of directors are enthusiastically inviting the community to learn more about the resources available in the Franco-American Collection at USM LAC. We enthusiastically support outreach opportunities whereby we can educate the public about the French culture, the language, religious traditions and history, as we share our pride in being Franco-Americans,” said Doris Bonneau, president of the collection. “Moreover, our activities welcome the important history brought to the Lewiston and Auburn communities by newly arrived French-speaking immigrants.”

A celebration of les fetes (the holidays) is scheduled for 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. A program is planned to celebrate Noel traditions and will include memories about “Un Vieus Noel” and “D’un Bon Vieus Temps,” during a Franco-American holiday walk down memory lane. Readings and stories will be accompanied by “Cantiquess de Noël avec Les Troubadours” (Christmas carols led by the Les Troubadours).

Monthly programs welcome the public to learn and celebrate the customs and traditions of Franco-Americans, as well as those by friends from other French-speaking countries. A program will be presented by local residents who grew up in French-speaking Africa from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16. They will discuss their special ethnic traditions in French.

Les Troubadours, the French sing-a-long chorus, will perform monthly Friday concerts from 1:30 to 2:20 p.m. on Jan. 16, Feb. 16, March 17, April 20 and May 18.

In March, the historical focus will be on the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Writer, blogger and journalist Julie Anne Baumer will lead an educational program about research she conducted to report the history of Lewiston’s Basilica.

A program about the culture of beer is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17. “The Franco-American Tradition of Beer” will be presented by James Myall.

In June, there will be a collaboration with the Gendron Franco Center, Cedar Street, for “Célébration de Saint Jean-Baptiste,” although the date and time have not yet been finalized.

Programs at USM LAC provides the community with easy access to the campus and free parking.

The USM LAC Franco-American Collection archives are available to researchers who have an interest in obtaining information about history, genealogy, language, culture, traditions, art, religion and literature; plus, the information available provides sources where documentation about the Franco-American and Francophone cultures are stored.

FMI, appointment for research: 207-753-6545, usm.maine.edu/franco.

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