Food, music, dance: Winter art festival to take over Main Street

If you find yourself walking up Main Street this Friday and see people wearing mittens playing volleyball in the middle of the street, don’t panic — you’re not hallucinating.

If you find yourself walking up Main Street this Friday and see people wearing mittens playing volleyball in the middle of the street, don’t panic — you’re not hallucinating.

This Friday is La Nocturne, a winter rendition of Nuit Blanche, with interactive art displays at Arts Underground and on Main Street from Second Avenue to the White Pass building.

Organized by the Association franco-yukonnaise, La Nocturne draws on the European tradition of wintertime Nuit Blanche, an all-nighter devoted to culture and art.

La Nocturne will feature dozens of interactive art performances based around the theme of childhood, said l’AFY’s Delphine Bouteiller, who’s coordinating the event.

“Even if it’s winter, even it’s cold outside and the days are short, we still want people to go out and warm up around art displays,” she said.

For the less adventurous crowd, there will also be indoor displays. Arts Underground will be open late and Baked Café will host a short music show and film screenings.

And it’s going until 2 a.m.

This is La Nocturne’s second edition. Last year was very much a tryout, Bouteiller said, with installations on the trail by the clay cliffs. There were also activities spread throughout the downtown core, she said.

But last year the festival lasted longer and organizers found it challenging to encourage people to stay past 2 a.m.

This year, they’re keeping it on a smaller scale in the hope of drawing more people.

Ten students from l’Académie Parhélie have been working with artists Michel Gignac and Marie-Hélène Comeau on building representations of the monsters that terrified them as kids inside wooden boxes.

Nikos Légère-Melanson painted his box black with a baby doll caught in a terrifying mass.

Légère-Melanson said it was the monster he was afraid of as a kid. In his nightmares, the monster would take the doll and decapitate it.

Maryne Dumaine, who also worked on the project, will be guiding people from one art installation to another.

And not to worry, Dumaine will be easy to spot.

Dressed as the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, Dumaine will embody the time-conscious character by directing festivalgoers depending on the performance schedule, all while dancing.

There will also be games of “mittens-volleyball” as Bouteiller calls it, in the middle of Main Street.

“We’re going to have fun in the winter,” she said.

Josée Fortin will have two 10-minute LED poi performances — similar to fire-swirling, but with LED lights — in a half-rehearsed, half-improvised performance over a soundtrack she created.

Fortin, who hails from Quebec, is happy to see an outdoor event during the winter.

“I’m used to enjoying winter,” she said. Montreal’s Nuit en Lumière and Quebec City’s Winter Carnaval both have large nighttime events in the middle of February.

Because of the outside temperature, she had to plan accordingly and wear gloves.

That may seem like a minor detail, but for jugglers and circus artists, it requires more work.

“It changes a lot of things, because it’s not the same sensations,” Fortin said.

There will be short movie screenings taking place at the White Pass building and the Old Fire hall, with a bonfire for people to jam around, and food prepared by Virginie Hamel.

But don’t expect Hamel to hand mere “snacks” or hot dogs.

Her food is part of the festival: it’s culinary art.

She will be cooking on a wood fire inside a wall tent, preparing a “mini-buffet, raclette-style,” she told the News.

“Partygoers will be able to melt a selection of cheese (brie, swiss, gouda) on a mix of yams, beets and carrots, accompanied by elk sausages from the Deli,” she said.

There will also be some hot cider.

The event and the food are free.

To see the complete list of artists performing on Friday night, visit afy.yk.ca and select La Nocturne.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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