The Sugarshack brunch is always a highlight of the festival.

Sugarshack shaping up

Francophone culture will be proudly on display next month as AFFNO prepares to host its annual Sugar Shack Festival.

Francophone culture will be proudly on display next month as the Association des francophones et francophiles du Nord-Ouest (AFFNO) prepares to host its annual Sugar Shack Festival.

“It is hard to believe, but this January will be our fifth annual Sugar Shack Festival,” said AFFNO executive director Patrick Witwicki at the Dec. 10 meeting of Port Edward council.

“It’s been building every year and everyone who comes loves it, with the highlight being the traditional Francophone food at the Sugarshack Brunch … I feel we’ve really built this up to a popular family event for the region.”

This year’s festival will take place from Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, 2015, with the Sugarshack Brunch scheduled to take place in the Dick St. Louis Auditorium beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Jan. 31. As with year’s past, the festival will include live music, with this year’s feature band being the Pastiche Trio — a Francophone band from Victoria that will play the brunch and a show at the Lester Centre during the weekend.

As well as outlining plans for the festival, Witwicki highlighted some of the initiatives AFFNO has undertaken as part of its mantra of promoting French language, culture and education.

“Locally we have been able to create trilingual flash cards with English, French and Sm’algyax, so it is great to have all three of those on one flash card … we also undertook a mature worker program for people 55-plus who want to get back into the workforce,” he explained.

“We have recently partnered with Hecate Strait to create an opportunity for new Francophone people in the community. It may not seem like a lot now, but with the LNG industry that could change.”