• Brianna Ballard

Festival Au Galop announces official program

PHOTO BY BRIANNA BALLARD

The Town of St. Lazare is preparing for its second annual Au Galop festival that this year will see proceeds going towards causes related to healthcare in the region.

The program for the second annual edition of St. Lazare’s Festival Au Galop was officially announced last Thursday and this year’s equestrian event features both entertainment for the eyes and the ears.

Pamela Tremblay, District 2 councillor and president of Au Galop, said that several new events are taking place this year, including having two major attractions instead of one. Singer Ariane Moffatt will be joining the Knights of Valour, an extreme jousting group, as one of the main events performing on July 2.

“We are very lucky to have her,” said Tremblay, adding that the ticket sale proceeds from Moffatt’s show will go directly to support the Fondation Hôpital du Suroît, one of two organizations the festival is supporting this year. “Like last year, we’re supporting two local causes related to healthcare,” Tremblay said. The festival is also supporting the Centre équestre thérapeutique Marie-Laurence, a centre in Ste. Justine-de-Newton that offers therapeutic riding lessons for children with mental or physical challenges. Donations will be collected by volunteers in the parking lots and stands of the venue throughout the weekend of the festival.

In addition to the two main events, the Festival Au Galop will have various activities and shows for the whole family, including carriage rides, dancing, country music, a horse-ball demonstration, medieval games on ponies and a mini equine museum, as well as a house and business decorating contest and much more. The activities will take place in the various zones of the festival, located on rue Poirier and in Bédard Park.

Michel Poirier, honorary chairman of the Festival Au Galop and owner of the St. Lazare IGA and the Auberge Willow, said he thinks the second edition of the festival will be, “a wonderful experience.” He added that horses have been a part of building our society from the ground up, and since St. Lazare is such a prominent equestrian community, the least the town can do is give horses their due respect.

“I think it’s a good idea to honour, to pay homage, to the horse,” he said. Poirier has been working with the committee that was established this year in order to involve more of the community in the process of organizing this year’s festival.

According to Tremblay, this year’s budget is set at approximately $300,000 and emphasized that the Town of St. Lazare is determined not to go over budget this year. Last fall, some residents were unhappy with the amount of money spent on the development of the festival, which ended up being over $550,000, even though the initial budget was set at $180,000. Tremblay says that the budget set for this year is going to be strictly adhered to.

The festival will be taking place on Canada Day weekend on July 1, 2 and 3, at the equestrian centre built for last year’s festival. This year, the festival is being combined with the St. Lazare Canada Day festivities.

For more information and for a full list of all the activities taking place, or to volunteer for the event, visit augalop.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca.

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