Sugar Shack celebrates Francophone culture in Prince Rupert

AFFNO put on a number of events celebrating the French-Canadian culture during the 4th Annual Sugar Shack Festival last week.

L’Association des Francophones et Francophiles du Nord-Ouest (AFFNO) put on a number of events celebrating the French-Canadian culture during the 4th Annual Sugar Shack Festival last week.

The festival started on Thursday with the yearly Sugar Shack Kick-off Social at Cowpuccino’s that included a live acoustic performance by Prince Rupert’s Ben Cornwall and lots of prizes.

“Out of 30 tickets we sold 26, so it was pretty close to a sell-out. We were quite happy with that event,” said AFFNO executive director Patrick Witwicki.

The following night, four Prince Rupert bands rocked the Tom Rooney Playhouse during Rockin’ the Sugar Shack. The show included mainly rock and country songs, with performances by Blair Marr-Verge, Aidan Galletti-Viscount, Ben Mechalchuk and Luke Basso of All Things Living, Witwicki and Men Who Listen bandmates Rudy Kelly, Bob Pearson and Barry Eso, Metallica-cover band Replica made up of Aaron Viktil, John Hughes and Dave Simmons and Ben Cornwall backed by Witwicki and Galletti-Viscount.

“We don’t get many nights in town of local music, so it was cool,” Witwicki said.

The main event of the 2014 Sugar Shack Festival was the Sugar Shack Brunch held at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre on Saturday. The event included traditional French-Canadian food like tortières, sugar pies and maple toffee on snow, as well as a performance by French-Canadian entertainment group Les Bûcherons.

“The food was fantastic, the volunteers put in a lot of effort and the music was great. You could tell the kids had a blast, and the parents enjoy it too because they got to relax and enjoy brunch while the kids had a good time,” Witwicki said.

AFFNO partnered with the Prince Rupert, Terrace and Smithers chapters of Canadian Parents for French to have Les Bûcherons perform in schools in the region, including a performance at Roosevelt on Friday.