Nadia Moreau recognizes it, this 55th edition has passed at a dizzying pace.
“Quietly, not quickly, we see the end. It was very fast, knowing that we had been working on it for a year,” exclaims the president of the Festival’s organizing committee.
However, there is still a busy weekend ahead for festival goers. Traditionally even busier than the first weekend, we’ll have to see if it will be like that again this year. If so, perhaps we will break an attendance record in this 55th edition.
“At the moment, it feels more than measured. During the assessment on Sunday we will be able to have some figures at our ticket offices. But we feel it and we see it. Even on the quietest days this week there were a lot of people. This is the impression we get from our dealerships,” he says.
Moreau also describes the weekday programming as a success, a novelty this year to respond to the demand of a clientele that wants to experience the atmosphere of Saint-Tite, without spending a full week there.
“People responded to the call, the stores were full every night. The team knew how to adapt well to the change in clientele that we saw last year,” he says.
According to her, the bingo hosted by drag queen Rita Baga on Monday night also energized the crowd.
“Even on Monday night I was wondering how he would respond. She was happy to see that the line to get in was very long. We had record traffic,” Mrs. Moreau rejoices.
Speaking of records, the half/half prize pool has already broken one, with the amount reaching more than $215,000 as of mid-afternoon on Friday.
“We should reach $250,000 in Sunday’s drawing. It must be said that this is also something new: the online prize pool. I’m very happy, especially since this is the first file we worked on. It is a great project that can be expanded a lot,” says the president of the Festival organizing committee.
The president of the organizing committee is also delighted with the good weather that the Festival has enjoyed so far.
“We only had rain on Wednesday, and if there was one day where it didn’t bother us too much if there was any, it was that day. For me, it is Gilles (Gignac) who gives us something from up there,” he adds, referring to the late president of the board of directors and long-time Festival volunteer.
On the merchants’ side, the assessment is more varied. On Boulevard Saint-Joseph, many believe that the first weekend was excellent in terms of traffic, but also business done.
“It’s a very good year. “I was surprised to see so many people during the first weekend,” says someone at a cowboy hat stand.
The same story a little further away, under a tent selling clothes. But traders have a different opinion. “These are not among the best years of Saint-Tite,” estimates the saleswoman at another clothing kiosk.
While business will always be good for some, others are paying the price of inflation.
“People are buying less. “They have less money,” says a saleswoman.
It is even suggested that the new law on tourist accommodation would have already had negative effects this year.
However, to have the final word on the story we will have to wait until Sunday, or even a few weeks from now, when the data is properly compiled.
Meanwhile, there is no shortage of activities for this last weekend of the 55th edition. However, several are complete. However, there are still some tickets left for the PBR Night Rodeo. Remember that these types of events, if not unprecedented, are still quite rare given the complexity of your organization.
“We do them on anniversary dates. Five years ago we did one. But it must be said that it is very demanding for the rodeo team, who must prepare the ground at night, knowing that there is still another rodeo the next day,” explains Mrs. Moreau.
The duel to come
Next week, Saint-Tite will return to its usual tranquility, once the last motorhomes have left and the kiosks have been dismantled. A peace of mind that will surely be welcomed by many residents: after all, we like to receive visitors, but we usually also like it when they leave… especially when they arrive by the hundreds of thousands. But this also means that the artisans of this 55th edition will have to mourn the event on which they worked tirelessly for almost a year.
“As a citizen, when the Festival is over, I am very happy that we will be able to move around the city more easily. But as a member of the organization who lived on adrenaline and didn’t sleep much for 10 days, yes, you have to cry,” confesses Nadia Moreau.
“You might not want it to last a full month, but it could last a little longer,” he adds.
A duel that, however, will not last long… Very soon, the Festival team – after having taken, we hope, a little time to breathe – will look at the 56th edition.
Second weekend highlights
- Rodeo at 1 p.m. (complete)
- Rodeo at 8 p.m. (complete)
- PBR Night Rodeo at 11 p.m.
- “The day after” show at 8 p.m. (complete)
- Original Coors finale at 1:30 p.m.
The Common Front arrives in Saint-Tite
Trade unionists from the region’s health and social services network also took advantage of the crowds of the Western Festival to be seen and heard by the population on Friday. Located in front of the CHSLD Mons. Paquin, on Convent Street, the members of the Alliance of Professionals and Technicians of Health and Social Services (APTS) and the CSN wanted, in particular, to make known their demands and the problems they faces the public network staff. at the moment. Remember that the two unions are in negotiations with the Quebec government with a view to renewing their collective agreement.
“Where we stumble the most is in salary. We are very far from the inflation announced by the government, which stands at 16% (in five years), while offering us an increase of 9% for the same period. For our members, this represents a new slowdown and a salary recovery to come,” explains Pascale Leclerc-Gingras, national representative of the APTS Mauricie-Centre-du-Québec.