More than 300 people attended the Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association Jamboree this past weekend in McLeese Lake, with visitors from across the country and across the province enjoying top-notch music and a welcoming atmosphere that brings many back year after year.
Organizers and entertainers all say the event would not happen without tireless volunteers who work behind the scenes to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
“This was such a great festival: lots of great volunteers make this happen,” said Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association president Laura Lee Marshall.
“There is great music and great entertainment; people love the food prepared by our volunteers and are very appreciative.”
Fiddle player/singer Fagen Furlong, born and raised in the Northwest Territories said that a big thank you is due to the organizers and volunteers who made the jamboree happen.
“It was so good to come here, get inspired and maybe influence someone else,” he ssaid.
“I had a lot of fun; music is always good for the soul.”
Volunteer Amy Van Der Ploeg from Bear Lake said four years ago she and her husband Ton came to the Jamboree in Mcleese Lake.
“We volunteered right from the word ‘go’ and have come back every year since,” she said.
“We love it: being with people, helping out, listening to the music, just enjoying everybody.
“We go to festivals in Quesnel, Hixon, Chetwynd and Williams Lake and at the end of the season we go home to Holland for a couple of weeks, where we enjoy street musicians.”
Marlene Swears, executive director of the Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association volunteers in the kitchen and said the Jamboree gets better every year.
“We’ve now been asked to put this on for another three years; I’m so grateful we got funding from the Cariboo Regional District, the City of Williams Lake and so many great sponsors, as well as community support.
“If it keeps growing the way it is it benefits not only our Métis people, it benefits everyone.
“It brings people together. The atmosphere here is great everybody likes family and wants to belong somewhere. Strangers become friends and bring others in,” she said.
“We all need that.”