After two years of forced pandemic break, country-loving festival-goers are excited and happy to be back at a Festival de St-Tite presented in its original format. This started on Friday September 9 and continues until September 18. The small town of 3,672 inhabitants then turns into a city with crowded streets welcoming between 600,000 and 700,000 visitors over a period of 10 days. The Journal chatted with cheerful western festival-goers.
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Amélie Leclerc and Simon Bernard have been coming to the St-Tite Festival from Sherbrooke every year for the past 5 years. This year, they came with their nieces Emma 5 years old and Mérika Bernard 13 years old and their one year old daughter, Romy. “Emma has been shopping for her clothes for a long time,” explains the aunt, who has three horses herself and gives riding lessons.
Naomy Dufour-Bernard, 9 years old, is on her first visit to the Festival western de St-Tite. The little one, who loves rodeos, came with her grandparents Louise Pelletier and Richard Dufour from Outaouais. “We will come back, they say. We like the style, it’s our first festival and it’s great! They had the pleasure of getting their cowboy hats on site.
Léa Bompard, 24, and her farmer husband Pierre-Louis Pelletier, 29, from Montmagny love style and country music. She has been coming to the festival every year for 10 years and was very eager to return after the two years of pandemic shutdown. For anyone who owns a hay farm for horses, this is a first experience in Saint-Tite. “I was really looking forward to it! »
Louise Comeau, 68, and André Adam, 73, dreamed of participating in the famous Festival Western de St-Tite. “It’s our first time, this is the year we said to ourselves: Let’s go! We love country culture, we love horses, incredible human performance. It’s totally up to our dream, it’s very well organized. The rodeo, the parade! We also attended the western mass with choir, an extraordinary experience”.
Benoit L. Gauvin from Shawinigan has been coming to the Festival Western de St-Tite every year for 35 years. The two years of pandemic shutdown were very long for the one who came with Grandma Carmen (the one who introduced him to country music) and her children in costume for their first occasion: Megan 6 years old, Laurie 5 years old and Vincent 3 years old. “We were looking forward to damn, we are very happy! »
Jacob Bougie 20 years old from Trois-Rivières is at his first Festival Western de St-Tite and Audrey Veillette 22 years old at her third. They love the atmosphere, the music, the rodeos and the shows offered in the tents. Audrey’s mother and sister also ride horses.
Marc-André Trudel from Joliette dreams of competing in barrels. At 31, he finally has his first horse. This is his first participation in the St-Tite Festival.
The Mayor of Saint-Tite, Annie Pronovost is a native of the city and has attended all editions of the festival since she was little.
Visiting Quebec – to see their daughter who is studying there – from Paris, Nathalie and Jean-Louis Rueda had put their rodeo clothes in their luggage.
Luc Fraser, the owner of the famous Maison M. Bussière (selling Boulet cowboy boots in particular) established in Saint-Tite since 1938.
Jacinthe Lorenz, 30 years old from Ste-Mélanie and her friend Jessika Therrien, 32 years old from Mascouche see their day in Saint-Tite as a “pleasant day for girls without children”. “It’s a passion, horses, rodeos”, explains Jacinthe who owns a mare.
The famous parade starts from the Grandes Estrades where the rodeos are presented and then crosses the streets of Saint-Tite over a distance of 3.5 km. This is one of the most popular events of the Festival Western de St-Tite. At. Program: allegorical floats, horse-drawn carriages, fire-eaters, circus actors, horses and orchestras highlighting local organizations.