Residents of Big Valley play dress up at the 12th Annual Hivernant Metis Rendezvous

Residents of Big Valley play dress up at the 12th Annual Hivernant Metis Rendezvous

Annual Métis Hivernant rendezvous celebrated with great revelry

The 12th annual Métis Hivernant rendezvous was celebrated over three days in Big Valley from Friday to Sunday, July 31-Aug. 2.

The 12th annual Métis Hivernant rendezvous was celebrated over three days in Big Valley from Friday to Sunday, July 31-Aug. 2, with great success and an abundance of fun.

Considered to be one of the main events of the Métis community in the region, the rendezvous brought together musicians, dancers, storytellers and community vendors.

The event started on Friday with the Métis community members setting up and vendors putting up their stalls at the drop-in centre on Main Street.

There was an evening sing-a-long and story-telling, which ushered in the mood for the festivities.

“The Hivernant Rendezvous is to showcase the Métis culture and its history, and people can participate and learn how to make certain things, such as capote, which is a wool blanket coat, finger weaving, beading, jigging, and singing,” said Marlene Lanz, president of the Hivernant Métis Cultural Society. “We also have a variety of games like tomahawk throwing and slingshot shooting, besides other games for kids.”

Saturday was kicked off with a pancake breakfast.

The Big Valley train station and Main Street were bustling with visitors and community members as they came out in large numbers to participate in the festivities, with many dressed to emulate the traditional Métis costumes from the earlier days.

A teepee tent had been set up at Memorial Park, in front of the drop-in centre and another area was set up for tomahawk throwing and slingshot shooting.

At the drop-in centre there was a variety of activities going on, as a group of musicians entertained visitors with traditional numbers.

There were vendors selling handmade crafts and jewelry, whereas others were demonstrating to visitors how to make various traditional Métis garments like the capote.

A diverse exhibit of trapped animals was on display by Marcien LeBlanc, a Métis trapper also known as the “ambassador of humane trapping” in the community. LeBlanc shared his knowledge about humane trapping and details about the way the method of hunting was done with curious visitors .

Around 4 p.m. visitors headed to the train station as they awaited the arrival of the steam train from Stettler.

Musicians moved from the drop-in centre to the train platform to welcome the passengers, joined y other community members who were dressed in Métis costumes.

Later in the evening, supper was served, which constituted of stew and bannock, traditional Métis food, which visitors enjoyed at the drop-in centre.

Sunday festivities started with breakfast, followed by story telling and sharing, and a talent show.

The festivities came to an end with a silent auction held at 5 p.m.