Things get started Friday evening with potluck picnic, hayride, bonfire, singing

    The Chautauqua and French-Canadian/Metis Festival at Old Crossing and Treaty Park near Huot begins Friday, Aug. 24, at 6:30 p.m. with a potluck picnic and a hayride. At 9 p.m. there will be a bonfire, singing and storytelling.

    The Chautauqua and French-Canadian/Metis Festival will celebrate history, culture and camaraderie at Old Crossing and Treaty Park. August 25 is designated Voyageur Day and Aug. 26 is First Nation Day.    

   Ca Claque!, a Manitoba based group of singers, dancers and musicians, will perform in the big tent Saturday, Aug. 25, at 1:45 and 3:30 p.m.and Sunday, Aug. 27, at 3:30 p.m. The high energy group, which celebrates French-Canadian culture, was a crowd pleaser at the 2016 festival.

    Double the Trouble, identical twins from Winnipeg, Manitoba, will perform Metis fiddle tunes, original and contemporary music on Aug. 25 at 12:45 p.m. The 14-year-olds, who are already veteran performers, will make an encore appearance at the festival. They have appeared at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Festival du Voyager and the Maple Sugar Festival in Calgary.

    Also on Aug. 25, Voyageur George Bonga of 1837 will be brought to life by Joel Brown of Mendota.

    Saturday will close out with Mass at 5 p.m., the Louisville Foundation will sponsor a French supper ($10 donation requested) and a dance at the American Legion in Red Lake Falls at 8 p.m.

    On Sunday, Corey Medina, Native American blues artist, and The Brothers of Bemidji will be on stage at 1:30 p.m.  They combine storytelling with blues, rock and folk music.

    At 2:30 p.m., hip-hop artist “Thomas X” Barrett and Brendan Strong will lead a program featuring poetry, Ojibwe hand-drum and flute playing, singing and youth dancers from Red Lake. Barrett, who is making an encore appearance at the festival, helped form Rez Rap Records in Red Lake to teach Ojibwe youth the power of language and heritage.

    Throughout the weekend, artists and artisans will demonstrate wool spinning and carding, butter making, yarn dying, broom and bowl making and woodworking.

    Food, including French Festival specialties such a Tourtiere (meat pie) and bread made in the earth oven, will be available. Silent auctions will be held Saturday and Sunday.

    Admission is free and the public is welcome to all events in the park.

    The Old Crossing and Treaty Park is on County Road 11 seven miles northeast of Gentilly or nine miles southwest of Red Lake Falls.

    For more information on the Chautauqua and Festival at Huot, contact Virgil Benoit at 218-253-2270 or Jerry Amiot at 289-8889.