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Metis Jamboree shaping up

Cariboo-Chilcotin Metis Association representative Arnold Lucier is busy helping to plan the annual Metis Jamboree coming up at McLeese Lake in August. - Monica Lamb-Yorski photo
Cariboo-Chilcotin Metis Association representative Arnold Lucier is busy helping to plan the annual Metis Jamboree coming up at McLeese Lake in August.
— image credit: Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

For the second year in a row, the Cariboo-Chilcotin Metis Association will host its Music Jamboree at McLeese Lake the second weekend of August.

Throughout the weekend the McLeese Lake Hall will be filled with music generated by at least 10 bands, said Arnold Lucier of the CCMA who is part of the organizing team.

“The music will start at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and goes until 9 p.m.,” he said.

Musicians are coming from as far away as Fort St. John, Terrace, Fraser Lake, Valemount, Prince George, Quesnel and Vancouver to join local musicians in celebrating the Metis culture.

The line-up includes Ray Leslie and Pat Myers, Perfect Match, Rosetta Paxton, Arnold and his brother Wayne as the Lucier Brothers, Quesnel Jiggers, Skeena North, JJ Lavalee — who has won champion Metis fiddler five years in a row, Tom Salley, Lincoln Merriot, Al Giddons, and Cariboo Thunder.

The Guitar Sellers’ Paul Maas is running the sound and providing equipment.

On Sunday, however, eight hours will be set aside for an open jam session.

“If people want to come up and play, they will be encouraged to do so,” Lucier said.

Last year so many people said they wish they could have played so organizers decided to throw the day open, he explained.

The association has secured the facility for Thursday to begin hauling in food, etc. and on that day the free camping will open up on a first come first served basis.

There will be a full concession stand, serving breakfasts, hamburgers, smokies and deep fried bannock, and chicken or maybe even spaghetti dinners.

Geared for families, with no alcohol or drugs allowed, and on site security, Lucier said there are lots of fun activities planned aside from the great food and music.

A loonie auction with great prizes to be won such as barbecues, flat screen TVs and bikes.

“We have Indian Bingo too,” he said, explaining 15 people stand at a table vying to win one of 10 prizes, during a three-minute round of throwing the dice hoping for pairs.

The prizes are wrapped so people don’t even know what they win until they open it and if there is time left and all the prizes are gone, it’s fair game to steal a prize from someone else.

Then there’s the lake to swim in, face painting, cotton candy and a scavenger hunt.

“There’s lots for kids to do,” Lucier smiled.

He arrived in Williams Lake in 1969 from Manitoba and has helped organize an annual Metis celebration in the summer for almost two decades.

For 17 years it was held at Felker Lake, but its popularity meant it outgrew the venue.

Last year’s jamboree was so successful at McLeese Lake that the community welcomed them back.

The hall has been renovated to be wheelchair accessible and Lucier said it has a gorgeous row of windows along one side with a great view of the lake.

Overwhelmed by community support, Lucier said Community Futures gave them $2,500 for their culture-inspired and community minded event.

Wristbands for the weekend are $30, a day pass is $15, and children up to 15 years old are free.

Passes are available at the Metis Association office at 83 Oliver Street from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. or call 250-392-4428.

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