HL: ‘A record number of maple taffies’: Festival du Voyageur returns to pre-pandemic attendance levels

It’s a curtain call on Festival du Voyageur 2023.

Holding its biggest event yet for its first full post-pandemic return, it was a long-time coming for die-hard fans.

“It’s been a family tradition since, I don’t know, probably my whole life,” said one attendee clad in a voyageur coat and a ceinture fléchée.

Darrel Nadeau, Festival du Voyageur’s executive director, said crowds came out in full force to witness the joie de vivre of Whittier Park.

“So we’ve had slightly higher attendance than before the pandemic, so we are very, very happy with people coming back in large numbers,” said Nadeau.

“I have maple taffy right here, and we had a record number of maple taffies on snow,” he added, holding a stick of dripping sugar. “They had to go and restock in the middle of the festival.”

Festival du Voyageur made some changes this year, the biggest being a new ticket system where people could buy day or night passes.

“The pandemic kind of gave us the liberty to make larger changes where people were comfortable with those changes, and people have accepted them and embraced the changes, and in return, they’ve had shorter lineups and more freedom to explore the festival,” said Nadeau.

With the largest Festival du Voyageur ever held officially in the books, Nadeau and organizers are already thinking of ways to top it.

“We definitely want to continue the momentum that we’ve built this year. Continuing on working on having bigger artists. Utilizing our larger spaces,” said Nadeau. “So you’ll have to stay tuned, but definitely, we want to continue the momentum and keep building.”

Welcome news to those who love the uniquely Manitoba attraction.

“Festival is like top-notch, and I love it,” said a festival attendee CTV News talked to. “It brings me a lot of joy.”

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