With snow on the ground and in mounds all around, it’s hardly time to be thinking of spring and summer festivals, but for those who must plan the events, they are well in the works.

That’s true for members of the La Kermesse Executive Board, which is in the midst of planning the 32nd La Kermesse Franco-Americaine festival, set for the last weekend in June.

In addition to a new weekend, the festival will also have a new home: the Biddeford Intermediate School practice fields, according to Executive Board President Jessica Quattrone. For decades, the festival was held at St. Louis Field, but after damage was done to the grounds, the festival has been in several locations. In 2010, it was held at the Biddeford Ice Arena, and for the last several years, it has taken place in Mechanics Park in downtown Biddeford.

While it’s too early to tell if the move will be good news for the festival, we’re pleased to see supporters and organizers making plans and changes to hopefully entice more people to this Biddeford mainstay. The festival is one of the few of its kind ”“ celebrating the French-Canadian heritage of many of this area’s residents, and their ancestors.

Although there are rides and carnival-type games, food and other fair fare, there have also been genealogy exhibits as well as French musicians and performers to celebrate the culture and heritage.

But since the festival location has bounced around, numbers seem to be dwindling, and the lineup has changed in years past due to costs and the organization required for putting on the parade and fireworks ”“ which are both on the schedule for this year.

This year, Quattrone said, there will be more of a focus on family friendly activities and events, and the group is seeking a petting zoo for the festival. Some of the limitations of having the festival on school grounds include the prohibition of drinking alcohol and gambling on the premises. The change from selling alcohol and nixing gambling means thousands of dollars in lost revenue, but Quattrone hopes the change will pay off in the long run by attracting new visitors who may have stayed away in the past because of the drinking and gambling.

This may certainly be true, and those who want to have a drink or make a bet definitely have many chances to do so outside of the festival. It may even encourage those who visit La Kermesse during the day to visit one of the many restaurants or bars in the downtown after their outing.

What’s clear is that La Kermesse continues to change, and we hope local residents and visitors continue to support this annual festival because it’s unique and special to Biddeford, celebrating its past and culture, and bringing families together.


Today’s editorial was written by City Editor Robyn Burnham Rousseau on behalf of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski by calling 282-1535, ext. 322, or via email at [email protected]