I attended my first "First Light" event at Sainte-Marie on Friday. We arrived around 7pm and the parking lot was already full, and there were police directing traffic to an alternate parking lot where shuttle buses were running smoothly to deliver people to the centre. There were candles in 'old fashioned' looking lanterns all along the drive leading up to the building, and the way they lit the entrance with these hundreds of candles was simply stunning. Each path inside Sainte-Marie had lanterns to lead you, and without much other light around, the candles lit the way between the buildings, and it really felt homey and 'back in time.' There were costumed people in each building, doing a variety of things one might find back in the days of olde, from offering cedar and mixed berry teas to ward off the cold, to deer and moose hide crafts, making Christmas cards, French Christmas Carols, blacksmithing demonstrations, drumming and singing, and cookies made by the local school children. The church had the most fantastic display and with all the candles, it was really lovely just everywhere. Inside the museum in the Interpretive Centre, there were also choirs and vendors with Christmas products gallore. Large birchbark canoes held many donations for the local Food Bank too. It was very well attended and I will definitely be attending next year. It was awesome!
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