The first Festival de la galette took place in the mid-1980s. Initiated by the board of directors, its goal was to attract visitors and generate revenue through the sale of the mill’s flour and the famous buckwheat crêpes — galettes de sarrasin. It is a festive multi-day event that attracts many visitors. It brought several thousand in the first years. Saint-Eustache Street was closed to traffic and there were street musicians to entertain the crowd. From the beginning, the Corporation du Moulin Légaré (CML) had partnered with the Saint-Eustache Knights of Columbus and the Daughters of Isabella. The women’s organization took on the task of making the crêpes.
A few years later, Le Bel Âge recreation committee took over and it still sells the crêpes today. This group’s active participation is essential for the event’s success.
View this video with a transcript: Francine Racette on the tradition of Le Bel Âge recreation committee’s involvement
In the early 2000s, the Festival was attracting more and more people, and the members of Le Bel Âge could not keep up with the demand at their booth in the mill’s rest stop. Nicole Carignan Lefebvre, a City of Saint-Eustache councillor, explains how she suggested having a second booth with municipal politicians and volunteers serving the galettes.
View this video with a transcript: Councillor Nicole Carignan Lefebvre on the galettes de sarrasin
A number of other groups have participated in the Festival over the years. The Association des artisans en métiers d’art de Saint-Eustache set up the Village des artisans where visitors can walk around and admire the craftspeople’s work. There are also demonstrations of traditional trades and crafts given by a blacksmith, embroiderers and lacemakers, spinners, a milliner, and a scrivener. At the Marché des saveurs (Flavour Market), people can taste local products sold by local producers; the market is supported by the Table de concertation agroalimentaire des Laurentides. Antique cars and historic reconstructions of Lower Canada military garrisons are also part of the festival’s activities. In addition, the festival site has a special area for children. Finally, there’s an opportunity for people to do something active, as traditional dance sessions are offered. In 1998, a “local flavours” component was added to the festival in addition to the Marché des Saveurs, where a variety of food products are on offer.
Listen to Raymond Tessier describing what makes the Festival de la galette et des saveurs du terroir so special.
View this video with a transcript: Raymond Tessier on a festival that gets the word out
Bringing more than 28,000 visitors to the Moulin Légaré site and the Maison de la culture et du patrimoine (manoir Globensky), the Festival de la galette et des saveurs du terroir is a major showcase for the CML and Vieux-Saint-Eustache heritage.
Corporation du Moulin Légaré