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From yesterday to today… smuggling has left its mark…

Although alcohol trafficking is still a taboo subject, a number of seniors today agree that Alfred Lévesque’s illegal activities enabled many families to survive during the great recession. Alcohol smuggling has undoubtedly left its mark on the lives of the people here and on the collective psyche. The Bootlegger Festival has been highlighting this unique facet of Rivière-Bleue’s history since 2009.

Photo of an outdoor concert

The outdoor show always draws record crowds. Source: Alain Caron.

In 2007-2008, the population was calling for the return of a festival in Rivière-Bleue. At the beginning of 2009, six young adults got together and with the collaboration of the Municipality the very first edition of the Bootlegger Festival took place in late July. A new popular community event was born with various activities reflecting the local culture and nature of the region. Every year, there is a large-scale show, microbrewery beer tastings, a dinner, an outdoor brunch and a general store for festival-goers to enjoy. There are also several activities where visitors can learn about the history and times of Alfred Lévesque and the largest smuggling ring in Eastern Canada. In 2019 a committee of 12 volunteers organized the Bootlegger Festival. There were 22 activities, 21 partners, 7,000 visitors and 225 volunteers put in approximately 2,000 hours of voluntary work… In short, every year a whole community comes together to rediscover its shadowy past.
For more information about the event, please visit See you the last weekend of July in Rivière-Bleue!