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Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Jamboree July 28, 29 in McLeese Lake

Music, food, lots of events, everyone welcome

The fun, family-friendly Métis Jamboree returns to McLeese Lake July 28 and 29.

“We’ve got a great program,” said Dawna-Lee Short, Cariboo Chiloctin Métis Association member and jamboree organizer. “Everyone is excited and looking for things to do since COVID.”

Returning to the stage is fiddler JJ Lavalle as well as fiddler Alex Kusturok, from Alberta, who is attending for the first time.

Other performers on the schedule include Divas, Broken Hill from Big Lake, Whisky Moon and more.

Saturday is family day specifically with lots of activities for children, plus some fun for the adults.

Activities include a crib tournament, hatchet and knife throwing contest, a bannock cook-off and a strongman truck pull - both a women’s and a men’s division.

McLeese Lake community hall is a great spot to host the event, Short said.

“The recreation commission is always so welcoming to us. We have a great rapport. Being near the lake too is always nice for the children.”

Food will be available on site with a concession open all day and breakfast served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

While admission is free, donations are always welcome. There will also be an auction.

Proud of her heritage, Short said she was born and raised in Williams Lake with being Métis very “entrenched” because of her parents Ron Short and Loralee Marshall.

“The Métis culture is very inclusive and everybody is always included.”

Glad that the world has opened up again to allow for events, Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association president Marlene Swears said she is really looking forward to jamboree.

“I hope everyone comes out and enjoys themselves and that people are patient. There are still safety measures to be aware of and we want everyone to drive safely.”

She also expressed her thanks to the community for helping keep the Métis dream alive in the region.

“We’ve lost a few people in the last few years. I commend our community for supporting us,” she said.

20 characters in the Divas show

For more than 20 years, Bonnie Kilroe has been portraying well-known female characters.

At the Métis Jamboree, on Saturday, June 29, she will share 20 of the 35 she has created and said there is a lot of audience participation in her shows, as well as a lot of costume changes.

She owns 163 wigs, she said.

“I like to cover a wide demographic. I’ll do characters like Edith Bunker to Shakira and then comedy such as a quick Prince thing where he turns into Austin Powers. Then I’ll do Cher.”

She said some of the characters are total parody and the other characters leave the audience thinking, “wow, she actually looks and sounds like her.”

That angle keeps the audience in suspense, noting knowing if they will find it funny or be impressed with the resemblance to the person she is portraying.

Growing up in a musical family, she said her dad’s family all played instruments including guitar, mandolin and banjo.

They all played country music and her mom’s family were all singers.

“I never really thought of myself as a singer until much, much later. The first thing I relate to honestly, is comedy.”

She said she never calls herself a singer, or an actor, or an impersonator.

“I’m an entertainer, I entertain people.”

Kilroe lives in Vancouver with her husband Joe Dasovic who is a political professor, who helps her with the shows.

“He joined the circus, I like to say. He is so supportive and on weekends he runs the show with me. It’s kind of cool.”

Divas: She’s Every Woman, is one of her main shows with the tagline A Farce to be Reckoned With, she said.

READ MORE: Cariboo Chilcotin Métis Association wins Williams Lake BIA window contest

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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