CANADAFEST CELEBRATES NEIGHBORS
South Florida Sun - Sentinel; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Feb 8, 2002;
IF YOU GO WHEN: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and noon-8 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Along the Broadwalk on Hollywood Beach, between Garfield and Polk streets
INFORMATION: Call the Hollywood Parks and Recreation Department at 954-921-3404 or the CanadaFest organizing committee at 954-924-9705.
As part of its annual sun-kissed hello to French-Canadian visitors, the city of Hollywood will roll out the welcome mat this weekend and transform part of its beachfront into a giant festival featuring the tastes and sounds of Quebec.
The 19th annual CanadaFest will take place from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday along the Broadwalk, on a 14- block stretch between Garfield and Polk streets. Admission is free.
The festival is one of the largest events in south Broward County, attracting 150,000 to 200,000 visitors throughout a two-day period, said Yves Beauchamp, vice president of CanadaFest 2002.
Crowds at this year's festival will find continuous music, an international array of food, a children's activity area with a rock- climbing wall, and vendors selling handmade crafts and other Canadian- themed products.
The governments of Canada and Quebec will have booths to answer questions and promote tourism, Beauchamp said.
One of the festival's most popular draws is the music. Two stages will be set up on the sand: one just off the Broadwalk at New York Street, the other at the Hollywood Beach Theater on Johnson Street.
The fest is expected to feature 25 musicians from Canada and South Florida, many of whom will be singing in English and French, Beauchamp said.
"The number of artists at this year's event is the largest we've ever had," said festival President Louis S. St. Laurent II, an attorney from Coral Springs.
The weekend's roster of acts will include Pierre Poirier, Guilda, Richard Huet, Nicole Dumont, Ovila Landry, Evan Joanness and Dany Flanders.
"It's a great opportunity for everyone to listen to some great French-Canadian music and see some of the top artists from Canada," said St. Laurent, whose grandfather was prime minister of Canada in the 1950s.
St. Laurent has been involved with CanadaFest for four years. This is his third year as president. "It's always been a big tradition for French-Canadians to be in southeast Florida," St. Laurent said. "It's one of the area's largest group of tourists. Some people make a special trip just to come to this festival."
Beauchamp called CanadaFest a tribute to the French-Canadian community, but added that the festival is for everyone.
"It's an occasion to have some fun," he said.