Cheer Story: Celebrating Culture Days - Paris of the Prairies Party!
How did the Paris of the Prairies Party idea come to be?
The program began when the opportunity to apply for the SaskCulture Culture Days Grant came across my email. I took the idea to my Board of Directors, and they immediately were interested, and the planning began! Our local Board Members declared a strong interest in French culture as our town has historical ties to the culture, and we even have an Eiffel Tower! A committee was formed consisting of representatives from the Town of Montmartre, Montmartre Economic Development Committee, Southeast Regional Library Board Members, a local business owner, and a few volunteers who were enthusiastic about French culture in our community. We met a few times prior to completing the application to create an event that would be hard to decline by the Adjudication Committee.
What impact or benefits did the Culture Days event bring to the community and citizens?
This event provided a fantastic opportunity for community organizations to host an event and get people into the library who have never been here before! We received great exposure by having a free raffle table, French materials on hand to check out, a French photo booth, a trip to France slideshow, locally made French cookies, and French-themed crafts and stories for grades 1-6, which were all done in the library. We were fortunate to have a retired French teacher volunteering on our Board, and she engaged the kids by reading and teaching songs in French.
Who were the artists/musicians/dancers that contributed to the party?
All of our presenters were local! We utilized two dance teachers, Courtney Melnychuk and Lauren Kohl to teach a 45-minute dance class to grades 1-8 during school hours. We also hired a passionate artist, Donna MacPherson who shared her knowledge on how to recreate a painting of the Montmartre Eiffel tower onto a canvas. Donna also taught adults at the Senior Center and the grade 8 class at the local school. Grades 1-7 created their own artwork with their classroom teacher using aids from our hired artist. Lastly, we had Donna Turk, a fiddler from Forget, to entertain us with French music at Sisters' Bistro. Donna and her husband also visited grades 1-6 for 15 minutes playing their instruments and answering questions. All events were free and materials were provided with the financial assistance of the SaskCulture Grant.
What was your takeaway from the Paris of the Prairies Party?
This event was a good opportunity to bring awareness to our French cultural heritage which this community is based on. Each participant took home a French craft, French words, a song in their head, and a dance to share with their family.
Cheer Story Submitted by Angela Englot, Branch Librarian, Montmartre Public Library