LEFAIVRE/MONTEBELLO - "The Ottawa River is not a boundary," explained Jean-Yves Lalonde to The AgriNews on Sun., Aug. 28 during the 2011 Foire Gourmande, which showcased over 60 local producers from both Prescott-Russell in Ontario and around the Outaouais on the Quăbec side.
Lalonde, United Counties Warden and the Mayor of Alfred-Plantagenet, personally welcomed guests to the second annual tasting festival that took place at both the Lefaivre Community Centre and the Montebello Marina. Tasters were ferried between the two sites at no cost, and were able to sample foods for $20 per sheet of tickets, with products running the gamut from jams and honey, to exotic meats, vegetables, wines and coffees, to culinary masterpieces prepared by award winning chefs from both sides of the river.
"It is extremely important to promote the producers within the regions and make sure that both the Outaouais and the United Counties of Prescott-Russell continue to work together both publicly and politically to establish ourselves as a tourist destination. An event like this to be held on both sides of the river is a win-win for both regions and provinces," said Lalonde.
In speaking with the coordinator for the Ontario portion of the Foire Gourmande, Marie-Pier Duschene, she said that were definitely lessons learned from last year's festival they have been significantly improved upon to allow for more visitors and better flow between the two sites. With the addition of a second ferry and a fleet of four buses traveling between the ferry and the Lefaivre site, she expected that they would surpass their goal of 8,000 visitors attending both sites, up from last year's 6,000.
"Attendance is definitely up and there are no long lines that discouraged some people last year," said Duschene. "We are all very happy with the entire event this year and plan on being bigger and better next year."
Organizers have said that this is the biggest summer event on the calendar for the region and plan on the Foire Gourmande to become a signature festival for many years to come.
"We have great producers that would normally not be able to promote themselves without the support of an event like this," said Duschene.
"We should always be looking at ways to get the word out about all the wonderful products that are available locally for consumers," said Lalonde. "We are definitely happy with the success of Foire Gourmande and look forward welcome everyone back for many years to come."
For a complete list of exhibitors that were featured at the 2011 Foire Gourmande go to www.foiregourmande.com.