Museum serving up poutine, Québécois music at annual Salute to Spring

Museum serving up poutine, Québécois music at annual Salute to Spring

Landon Baker of North Kingstown samples the poutine during last year’s Salute to Spring/Bonjour Printemps at the Museum of Work and Culture. (Breeze file photo by Lauren Clem)

WOONSOCKET – The Museum of Work and Culture will host its 20th Salute to Spring/Bonjour Printemps next Sunday, March 24, with a full lineup of food, music and arts exhibits planned for the annual celebration of Québécois culture.

For the third year in a row, the event will feature the popular Poutine Indulgence, a french fry-gravy-and-cheese curd competition that became an immediate draw when it was introduced in 2017. The event sold out for the past two years and is almost certain to do so again, according to Museum Director Anne Conway, who told The Breeze only a limited number of tickets remained as of Monday.

“It’s a huge draw. And we have some new restaurants this year. Some of our regulars are coming back, and they’re doing their versions of poutine,” she said.

Past competitors returning this year include Friskie Fries of Providence, Ciro’s Tavern of Woonsocket, Adeline’s of Cumberland and Red Stripe of East Greenwich. Dan’s Place of Coventry and Bywater of Warren will also vie for the winner’s title. Though the dish is relatively new to French-Canadian culture, making its appearance in the last half-century, Conway said its association with Quebec has been a boost for the museum, helping the event reach a wider audience.

“Poutine is very popular among millennials, so now we see a lot of young families,” she explained. “They come with their kids, and it’s great. I love it because they’re also connecting with their heritage. They’ll bring their kids upstairs and go and dance to the traditional French-Canadian music, and it’s great to see them discovering that.”

For musical entertainment, visitors can enjoy performances by Franco-American folk singer Josée Vachon, a Museum of Work and Culture regular, and fiddler Daniel Boucher. Both musicians will offer their take on traditional Québécois folk songs inspired by their heritage and upbringing in French-Canadian families.

The event will also feature vignette performances of “Mill Girls” by Pawtucket-based Jump! Dance Company and a screening of the documentary film, “God Save Justin Trudeau.” Along with poutine, visitors can sample pastries provided by Wright’s Dairy and beer from Woonsocket’s own Ravenous Brewing Company. The day will conclude with the drawing of the museum’s annual raffle grand prize, a trip for two to Montreal donated by Conway Tours.

Conway noted the support of the event’s local sponsors, which help to keep the cost down for the busy afternoon.

“For $20, it’s just such a great way to come with your family and experience the French-Canadian culture in one afternoon,” she said.

Tickets for Salute to Spring/Bonjour Printemps will be available until they sell out online at shopmowc.com or by calling 401-769-9675. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children; children under 3 are free.