34th FMG – The edition of small miracles!

September 6th, 2021

As we reflect on this last edition, the FMG is delighted to have raised to the many challenges of the last months to deliver an edition marking its 34th anniversary as being one of reunion and of “small miracles”.

Despite all the last-minute changes imposed by the evolution of the health situation, the efforts of the staff, our partners, and our loyal volunteers made it possible to accomplish our mission : generate happiness in the hearts of thousands of Gatineau residents and visitors. Throughout the 5 days of the event, around 30,000 festival-goers walked through Parc de la Baie. The festival-goers were present, happy to have the opportunity to finally get to celebrate together in an “almost” normal festival setting. According to the comments received, everyone appreciated the new formula of a completely redeveloped site, in particular to ensure safety and compliance with health measures.

The evening shows have thrilled large crowds, notably the Cowboys Fringants show which was sold out. Hydro-Quebec Musical matinees, a brand new product that featured Cœur de pirate and Fred Pellerin in an intimate format, offered the most touching moments, while songs and music gently accompanied daybreak. In addition to the long-awaited shows, festival-goers were able to discover regional artists like Mehdi Cayenne, A Leverage for Mountains, Ricky Paquette, Mia Kelly, LeFLOFRANCO and D-Track. Among the other successes, the fireworks presented each evening, as well as free shows offered for families during Desjardins Family Day are to be highlighted.

Mother Nature was kind to us during this Labor Day weekend, allowing the Festival’s organizers to offer a total of 4 hot air balloon flights to festival-goers and residents of Gatineau-Ottawa. The hot air balloon Night Glows could also be presented during the first 3 evenings.

The FMG’s extended family honored

Once again, the Jean Boileau Prize was presented on stage to recognize the work and involvement of a balloonist, a volunteer or a member of the organizing committee of the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival. In this special year, the founder of the FMG, Jean Boileau, and the president, Stéphane Riel, have chosen to underline the resilience of its organizing committee and its volunteers by highlighting the involvement of eight of the committee’s members, who are celebrating over 30 years of volunteer work within the organization. Here are the recipients of the 2021 Jean Boileau Prize :  Robert Asselin (provisioning), Lorraine O’Farrell (flight officer), Anne-Marie Mathieu (pilots’ pavilion), Julie Mathieu (hot air balloon tours), Isabelle Laberge (lost children and infant care), Louise Dicaire (provisioning), Paul Cloutier (security) and Lise Paquin McArdle (1001 Hidden Treasures), accompanied in the photo by Marie-Chantal Giguère, Vice-President of the Board of Directors.

These 8 volunteers contributed all weekend to the smooth running of the 34th edition of the FMG, alongside over 500 other volunteers. They were thanked on several occasions, both by the FMG team and by the festival-goers who showed their gratitude for the work and the warm welcome of the volunteers.

It is therefore with pride that we can say “mission accomplished” for the 34th edition of the FMG!

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