Letter from the President
Dear members and friends,
As we start 2019, we are celebrating another great year at the Franco-American Centre. From our early beginnings on Concord Street to our new offices at St. Anselm College, we continue to expand our vision and programming to provide a great cultural experience in our region for all.
Last year’s activities continued to build upon our fun and engaging annual events. In addition to the perennial successes of Mardi Gras, the St-Jean-Baptiste and the Beaujolais Nouveau Gala, we were able to build on the success of NH PoutineFest while adding Camp Bienvenue, a new program for immigrant youth. Check out Francophone month coming up in March.
With a talented board, dedicated staff and enthusiastic volunteers, we continue to create opportunities for people to celebrate French language and culture in their homes and in their communities.
Whether as a member, a donor, volunteer or event participant, we hope you will join us as we begin our exciting 29th year. Your involvement and support is valued as our Franco-American history continues.
Please join us at our events this year. You will enjoy them.
I look forward to seeing you soon. Warm regards,
James Normand, President
2018 Year in Review
What a year! The FAC has been quite busy. We’ve hosted over 40 events! Activities included the monthly Prêt-à-parler (PAP), francophonie month in March, New Hampshire PoutineFest in June, the annual Beaujolais Nouveau Gala in November to everything in between. None of these would have been possible without the 80 plus volunteers who generously donated their time, energy and ideas or the members who have made generous contributions.
The year started with our monthly PAP French conversation gathering. Throughout the year, on the 1st Tuesday of each month, 15 to 20 avid French speakers meet to exchange ideas and even further their knowledge of the French language. All levels and dialects are warmly welcome, no matter the weather.
In February, members and guests spiced things up at our annual Mardi Gras celebration. Guests spanned generations as they danced and feasted on such treats as King cakes.
In March, we celebrated international Francophonie month with a variety of events: Flag raising in Nashua, art exhibits, presentations of French Canadian and Haitian films, lectures and a proclamation in Concord with Governor Sununu. The proclamation was attended by dignitaries from the Quebec delegate and the Consulates general of Canada and France, as well as members, French teachers and students and FAC members and board members.
In April, the FAC partnered with Welcoming Manchester for French Conversation Café to connect recent French immigrants with French speaking community members to enjoy an evening of friendly conversation. We then collaborated with Southern New Hampshire University for a 5K color run to benefit the American Breast Cancer Foundation and the FAC.
In May, we honored the winners of the annual Euclide Gilbert French video contest. This year marked the first time to include a category for college students along the high school category. The 2018 winning videos are currently available by clicking here.
June kicked off our annual Festival d’été with the St-Jean Baptiste celebration. We honored French Teacher of the Year, Edee Takantjas of Belmont High School and Business of the Year, St. Mary’s Bank. This year’s illustrious Franco-American of the Year was our own Josée Vachon who had toes tapping and everyone smiling as she treated us to a few of her favorite songs.
On June 23rd, the New Hampshire PoutineFest Team, supported by 40 volunteers, welcomed over 1,400 poutine lovers. Although the weather was rainy, spirits were high as festival goers sank their teeth in poutine supplied by 10 participating restaurants. The 2018 champion was the Kettlehead Brewing Company located in Tilton NH. We encourage you to check them out, as well as the other participating restaurants. The list is available at NHPoutineFest.com.
A quieter July allowed us to regain our collective breath to jump into August at which time we celebrated Acadian Heritage with a family day at Joppa Hill Farm in Bedford. Kids and parents played games, participated in a vocabulary scavenger hunt and enjoyed delicious ice cream donated by Ben & Jerry’s in Manchester. We also said goodbye to staunch friend and supporter of the FAC, Consul General of France, Valéry Freland, as he embarked on the next chapter of his diplomatic career. Although he will be missed, we look forward to forging a new friendship with the new Consul General.
To cap off the Festival d’été, we enjoyed our annual half-way to Mardi Gras. This year, we enjoyed a Bayou vibe & Cajun food at Madear’s Restaurant in Manchester. We filled the space with music, laughter and joie de vivre!
As fall arrived, so did fair season. The FAC participated in several cultural fairs as well as career fairs at local Colleges. We also enjoyed 2 wonderful concerts: Le Choeur en Supplément’Air from Montréal touring in New England and Le Vent du Nord at the Dana Center where FAC members enjoyed St. Anselm Alumni pricing.
The FAC also moved into its new space at the Sullivan Ice Arena. Drop by during our office hours (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9am to 1pm). We’d love see you!
In October we held our first online auction. Thank you to all who donated and bid on items. We are already planning for this year’s. Interested in donating, contact us at [email protected].
We enjoyed another elegant evening of fine dining and wines at the annual Beaujolais Nouveau Gala. Make sure to mark your calendars for next year’s 10th anniversary! We’ll look forward to seeing you November 23rd, 2019!
Finally, we closed of the year with our annual Soirée de Noël & Volunteer Appreciation party. We enjoyed a lively evening of music and fun to celebrate the season and honor our volunteers without whom none of our activities would be possible.
The FAC is already planning various events for 2019. Some new and some recurring and well loved ones.
Make sure you don’t miss out! Sign up to receive our email notifications. Like and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Visit our website regularly, we’re constantly updating our site.
Have an idea for an event or activity? Email us at [email protected], or join us at our Program Committee meetings. Next meetings: January 22nd & February 19th, 2019 at 6pm in the conference room at the Sullivan Ice Arena.
2019 Coming Events:
- March Mardi Gras
- March Francophonie Month
- June St-Jean Baptiste Celebration
- June 22nd NHPoutineFest
- June 23rd Heritage Baseball Game
- August Halfway to Mardi Gras
- October Pre-Holiday Online Auction Annual
- November 23rd Beaujolais Nouveau Gala
- December Soirée de Noël & Volunteer Appreciation
And so much more!
Learn French Today! We offer French language and culture classes for adults and children at all levels of language learning. Click here for details.
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Thank you for a most successful 2018.
Here’s to a fabulous 2019!