Since 1971, members of Le Comité Franco-Américain de Lowell have officially gathered to celebrate June 24th, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day, in the city. What started as a celebratory day soon grew to an annual celebration known as Franco American Week.
2018 events included a ham and bean supper, a documentary film screening, painting lessons, and French Bingo. Every year since 1975, the committee has also honored a “Franco-American of the Year” with the first honoree being then-Mayor Armand LeMay.
Another annual highlight is of course the raising of the flag of Quebec at Lowell City Hall every year on the 24th of June.
After rain moved the 2017 edition indoors, an overcast but dry Sunday morning allowed the ceremony to return to the front of the City Hall steps. Here are a few photo highlights of the 2018 Franco American Flag Raising:
The always dapper Armand LeMay adjusts his jacket.
Flag procession by the Honor Guard
Armand and Curtis LeMay
Curtis welcomes the crowd from behind the wreath.
Mayor LeMay sings O Canada in French as the Quebec Flag is raised.
Next on the agenda was the laying of the wreath in front of the Franco American Monument.
The Franco-American Monument was dedicated on June 24th 1974. It is located in front of the City Hall. It was erected “in memory of all Franco-Americans of the past who helped to build Lowell, to those of the present who are continuing a well and cherished heritage and to all Franco-Americans of the future who will help to keep Lowell the great city that it is”.
Several notable political figures were in attendance including Congressional candidates Rufus Gifford and Lori Trahan, and former City Councilor Rithy Uong.
Mayor Samaras delivered welcoming remarks and issued a proclamation for 2018 Franco American Week in Lowell.
“Lowellians of French and Quebecois descent have helped shape the City of Lowell in numerous ways. The realms of business, government, education, the arts—each has seen distinguished Franco Americans from Lowell and the Lowell area,” noted the Mayor.
Each of the other former mayors also spoke, giving greetings to the Franco Lowellian crowd.
Franco-American Day Committee President Kevin Roy wrapped up the morning’s festivities by thanking all the volunteers who make Franco American Week possible.
Following the ceremony was the traditional doughnut and coffee reception. A great time was had by all.