The Montcalm Heritage Festival in St. Joseph, held this past weekend, was a delightful celebration of local history and community spirit. This annual event, a highlight for the small town, offered a collection of activities that catered to all ages and interests, providing a special experience for both residents and visitors.

"We've been coming here for three years, my kids and I, and it's just nice to see people from the community. Everybody's friendly, and you learn about the history of agriculture... my kids love the parade and the candy of course, but the petting zoo is also very, very popular." said attendee Allison Palmer.

One of the festival's main attractions was the free museum tours. The local museum, Musée Saint Joseph Museum Inc., a cornerstone of St. Joseph's cultural heritage, opened its doors to the public, offering a glimpse into the area's history. These tours are always a central interest, allowing attendees to connect with the past through engaging exhibits.

"The museum is one of the main features of the town of St. Joseph. As you can see, it's not a very big town... One of our goals is to have it become a star attraction in the province and our directors and the board are working hard toward that." said Gtean Fontaine, Saint Joseph Museum Board Member.

The festival kicked off Saturday morning with a complimentary breakfast, fostering a sense of community as people gathered to share a meal. The parade, a spirited display of creativity, followed soon after, bringing joy and excitement to the streets.

The festival offered a diverse range of games and entertainment for families. Saturday's highlights included the 'Prancing Pony Petting Zoo,' a source of delight for children and animal lovers. The display of stationary engines and antique tractors offered a reflective glimpse into the region's agricultural heritage, appealing to those interested in farming's development.

Music played a vital role in the festivities, with performances that catered to diverse tastes. Indigenous music entertainment was a tribute to the original residents of the land.

Shortly after the opening ceremonies Saturday afternoon, the grand opening of The Bridge Pavilion took place.

"The Bridge Pavilion is actually a venue that will be used during the festival, and we'll be able to to rent it out for family events and weddings in the beautiful location on the grounds of the historical village," explained Camille Fiestte-Mulaire, the Executive Director of the Musee Saint Joseph Museum, in an interview with PembinaValleyOnline prior to the Festival. "In the Bridge Pavilion, we are commemorating the methods of crossing the Red River, namely in the St. Jean area. We are unveiling a a huge mural that was painted by a young local artist, along with a mentor professional artist by the name of Hubert Theroux and the young artist is Josee Remillard who grew up in in St. Joseph."

"There was history prior to the arrival of this, these settlers, I think it's important for that to be recognized and brought into the context of the museum... the focus of the museum is pioneers and settlers that came to the area and the contribution to agriculture that was made over many decades," said Fontaine.

Overall, the Montcalm Heritage Festival succeeded in celebrating St. Joseph's unique heritage, bringing the community together for a joyous and educational weekend. The blend of historical exhibits, family-friendly activities, and cultural performances guaranteed that there was something for everyone to enjoy.