St. Lazare is preparing to host the third annual Au Galop festival this July, celebrating horses and the town’s equestrian heritage with riding demonstrations and horse shows, live music, children’s activities and more. With two festival sites linked by a short walk or free horse-drawn wagon ride, the two-day event on July 8 and 9 will pepper the small downtown area with festival tents, activities, games, cultural and historical exhibits, rides and food trucks. Activities include educational workshops, horse-petting sessions, shows and equestrian sports demonstrations, including horse ball, barrel-racing and carriage driving.
Highlights of the Saturday program include a free performance by Cavaland at 4 p.m., with 10 horses and riders demonstrating a variety of equestrian skills. Several of the horses in the troupe were rescued from slaughterhouses, abandonment or other mistreatment and rehabilitated as performers. The rescued horses will wear a blue ribbon around their necks during the show. Later that day, at 8:30 p.m., Québec Issime will perform COW-BOYS de Willie à Dolly, a free show featuring 12 musical artists performing two hours of country music hits.
On Sunday, family-friendly trick rider show HorsePower Live will feature 10 horses and riders performing amazing feats in a fun and educational show at 11:30 a.m. and again at 3 p.m.
On both days, there will be line dancing, pony rides, arts and crafts workshops, face-painting, a mini-farm, a beer tent featuring artisanal brews, pony-painting, stable visits, bouncy castles and more. Festival-goers are also invited to dress up in western, equestrian or medieval costumes, so feel free to encourage the little ones to come as cowboys, princesses or knights!
Campsites at nearby Parc nature les Forestiers-de-Saint-Lazare are available for festival visitors who want to enjoy both days of activities. Campsites must be reserved in advance, and cost $30 for trailers and tent-trailers or $25 for tents. Campsites are rustic, without electricity or other services. Campers can enjoy access to the Saint-Lazare community pool, nature trails, and a mini-farm and playground for kids. The campsites are within cycling distance to the festival (which will space to park up to 300 bikes) and there will also be a free shuttle to bring campers to and from the festival.
St. lazare is an off-island community located about 20 minutes southwest of the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge. Admission to the festival is free. The festival sites at Bédard Ave. and Ste. Angelique Rd. and the other one at des Loisirs St. and montée St. Lazare. Parking will be available in various sites around the town, with complementary shuttles between parking lots and event sites between 10:45 a.m. until midnight on Saturday, and from 10:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call 1-844-GO-GALOP or visit augalop.ca.